Something possible and something true, a little AMD and NVIDIA news for you

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2019 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: and, nvidia, leak, linux, 1660 ti, radeon vii

Once again we have an interesting leak from TUM_APISAK, this time about an upcoming NVIDIA product.  The performance of the GTX 1660 Ti may or may not match the benchmark below but if it does we may finally be seeing a new mid-range Turing GPU from NVIDIA.  The GTX naming scheme is worth noting, as it implies this will not feature the Ray Tracing or other enhancements brought by the RTX family and the strange new numbering system implies we might see more.  That lack may help drive the price down, which would give people a chance to pick up something noticeably faster than a GTX 1060.

If you are more interested in verifiable news, The Inquirer also offers that this morning with confirmation of Linux support for AMD's new GPUs right from the very start.  This has been something which we haven't really seen from AMD in the past, with enthusiasts working in the dark to tweak existing open source drivers to power AMD cards.  Over the past few years AMD has been more forthcoming with information that helped in the development of drivers and has been more successful at releasing their own.   This is great news that the new Radeon VII family will be conversant in Linux as of day one; we will keep an eye out for comparative performance once the cards launch.

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"The leaked benchmarks come courtesy serial leaker APISAK, which posted a screenshot of the Ashes of Singularity benchmark showing a GPU called the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti."

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Source: The Inquirer

Grab your IronClaw fellow Corsairs and let's go a-raiding!

Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2019 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: input, gaming mouse, RGB, corsair, ironclaw, PMW3391

For gamers that wear large sized gloves there are many rodents that don't nestle comfortably in their palms, especially the travel sized ones.  For them there is a new mouse on the market, the Corsair IronClaw which is large enough for comfort (130x80x45mm) but not to a point which will make it uncomfortable for others.  The PMW3391 sensor matches the quality you expect from a gaming mouse and Corsair's iCUE software lets you program the buttons and RGBs as you would expect as well as incorporating hardware monitoring graphs.

Take a look over at The Guru of 3D.

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"Oh wait, there's one more. Our third mouse review this week is the IronClaw RGB mouse. Designed with a comfortable fit and some pretty iCUE related features this critter might be just what the doctor ordered at 59 bucks."

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Rumor: AMD Gonzalo APU for Next-Gen Game Consoles Leaks

Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2019 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: Playstation, Navi 10 Lite, navi, leak, Gonzalo, APU, amd, PS5, rumor, xbox, Zen 2, Zen+

What's in a name? Depending on how much you read into it, quite a bit, depending on what you infer from product code 2G16002CE8JA2_32/10/10_13E9. There are some very interesting rumours floating around the net today which suggest AMD might have another big win on their hands.  They provided much of the hardware for the release of the two major consoles way back in 2013 and there have been recent statements they will be inside the next generation of XBox.  Now that NVIDIA is working on supporting Active Sync that benefit is a little less clear in the long term but at least for now they are a little late to the game.

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Image credit: Twitter user @TUM_APISAK

The image, from from a source that has a rather impressive track record, demonstrates the decoding process - and pay close attention to the letter "G", the second character in the string, which presumably indicates that this intended for a game console. The source also suggests that this new chip will be a Zen 2 and Navi based APU called Gonzolo, with eight cores clocking between 1GHz to 3.2GHz with 4MB of L2 cache and 16 MB of L3 cache.  There is less information on the "Navi 10 Lite" GPU, apart from a belief that it's core will be running at a frequency of at least 1GHz.

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Image via Twitter user @KOMACHI_ENSAKA

This is great news for AMD, who have been enjoying the royalties from the sales of consoles and could use the fresh injection of cash as gamers upgrade once the consoles launch.

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Source: The Inquirer

Q2VKPT Makes Quake 2 the First Entirely Raytraced Game

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2019 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, rtx, raytracing, Quake II, quake, Q2VKPT, Q2PRO, path tracing, open source, nvidia, john carmack, github, fps

Wait - the first fully raytraced game was released in 1997? Not exactly, but Q2VKPT is. That name is not a typo (it stands for Quake 2 Vulkan Path Tracing) it's actually a game - or, more correctly, a proof-of-concept. But not just any game; we're talking about Quake 2. Technically this is a combination of Q2PRO, "an enhanced Quake 2 client and server for Windows and Linux", and VKPT, or Vulkan Path Tracing.

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The end result is a fully raytraced experience that, if nothing else, gives the computer hardware media more to run on NVIDIA's GeForce RTX graphics cards right now than the endless BFV demos. Who would have guessed we'd be benchmarking Quake 2 again in 2019?

"Q2VKPT is the first playable game that is entirely raytraced and efficiently simulates fully dynamic lighting in real-time, with the same modern techniques as used in the movie industry (see Disney's practical guide to path tracing). The recent release of GPUs with raytracing capabilities has opened up entirely new possibilities for the future of game graphics, yet making good use of raytracing is non-trivial. While some games have started to explore improvements in shadow and reflection rendering, Q2VKPT is the first project to implement an efficient unified solution for all types of light transport: direct, scattered, and reflected light (see media). This kind of unification has led to a dramatic increase in both flexibility and productivity in the movie industry. The chance to have the same development in games promises a similar increase in visual fidelity and realism for game graphics in the coming years.

This project is meant to serve as a proof-of-concept for computer graphics research and the game industry alike, and to give enthusiasts a glimpse into the potential future of game graphics. Besides the use of hardware-accelerated raytracing, Q2VKPT mainly gains its efficiency from an adaptive image filtering technique that intelligently tracks changes in the scene illumination to re-use as much information as possible from previous computations."

The project can be downloaded from Github, and the developers neatly listed the needed files for download (the .pak files from either the Quake 2 demo or the full version can be used):

  • Github Repository
  • Windows Binary on Github
  • Quake II Starter ("Quake II Starter is a free, standalone Quake II installer for Windows that uses the freely available 3.14 demo, 3.20 point release and the multiplayer-focused Q2PRO client to create a functional setup that's capable of playing online.")

There were also a full Q&A from the developers, and some obvious questions were answered including the observation that Quake 2 is "ancient" at this point, and shouldn't it "run at 6000 FPS by now":

While it is true that Quake II is a relatively old game with rather low geometric complexity, the limiting factor of path tracing is not primarily raytracing or geometric complexity. In fact, the current prototype could trace many more rays without a notable change in frame rate. The computational cost of the techniques used in the Q2VKPT prototype mainly depend on the number of (indirect) light scattering computations and the number of light sources. Quake II was already designed with many light sources when it was first released, in that sense it is still quite a modern game. Also, the number of light scattering events does not depend on scene complexity. It is therefore thinkable that the techniques we use could well scale up to more recent games."

And on the subject of path tracing vs. ray tracing:

"Path tracing is an elegant algorithm that can simulate many of the complex ways that light travels and scatters in virtual scenes. Its physically-based simulation of light allows highly realistic rendering. Path tracing uses Raytracing in order to determine the visibility in-between scattering events. However, Raytracing is merely a primitive operation that can be used for many things. Therefore, Raytracing alone does not automatically produce realistic images. Light transport algorithms like Path tracing can be used for that. However, while elegant and very powerful, naive path tracing is very costly and takes a long time to produce stable images. This project uses a smart adaptive filter that re-uses as much information as possible across many frames and pixels in order to produce robust and stable images."

This project is the result of work by one Christoph Schied, and was "a spare-time project to validate the results of computer graphics research in an actual game". Whatever your opinion of Q2VKPT, as we look back at Quake 2 and its impressive original lighting effects it's pretty clear that John Carmack was far ahead of his time (and it could be said that it's taken this long for hardware to catch up).

Source: Q2VKPT

Post-CES Keynote Interview With AMD CEO Lisa Su

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2019 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: Ryzen 3000, radeon vii, lisa su, interview, EPYC, amd

German site PC Games Hardware today posted an interview with AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su. The interview was conducted as part of a roundtable discussion following her CES keynote last week.

Dr. Su addresses questions about the current and future role for Vega for both professionals and consumers, the outlook for Ryzen 3000 and EPYC, ray tracing and FreeSync, AMD’s 2019 product roadmap, and the future of chip design.

Check out the interview over at YouTube or via the player embedded above.

Source: YouTube

Satya Nadella spotted heading into the woods with a shovel and dufflebag

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2019 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows phone, ios, Android, cortana, Alexa

It has been an interesting week to be Microsoft, as they have had to suggest to their user base that they might be better off moving to a competitor's product.  Sebastian has already informed you about the fact that Cortana and Windows Search are going through a somewhat amicable divorce, but today we find Satya Nadella suggesting that Cortana will become an optional skill which you can choose for Alexa or Google Assistant; if you don't see any better perks for that level.  Apparently they will also "be again completely consumer businesses" by offering consumers the same licensing scheme as they forced upon enterprise businesses, of which many have expressed strong feelings about since it was introduced.

What must really burn is their admit that Windows 10 Mobile is indeed as dead as the proverbial parrot, which has forced them to suggest that current users move to a different device as Microsoft will no longer even offer token support for that OS after the end of the year.  People paying attention to this may remember that the last major update to the OS was pushed in 2017.

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"Microsoft's guidance for customers is to "move to a supported Android or iOS device" and use the range of Microsoft applications on one of those platforms instead."

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Source: Ars Technica

Radeon rumourmongering

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2019 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: amd, rumour, Vega VII

There are several rumours bouncing around the internet about the new GPU from AMD, from overall shortages, to selling short through to the non-existence of custom cards from AIB partners.  As usual AMD is fairly tight lipped about unreleased product but did refute the post from Tweaktown stating there will be a mere 5000 cards available at launch, stating that they expected to be able to meet initial demand; a nice change from the issues that plagued the entire industry in 2018.

There are also allegations that the cost of the 16GB of HBM2 will mean AMD will take a loss on every single card sold at the $700 MSRP, which is honestly ludicrous on the face of it.  However there is one rumour that The Inquirer noticed AMD would not comment on, we still do not have confirmation of third party cards.  That would be an odd move on AMD's part, but as this year we will see Intel auction off a high end chip instead of selling them on the open market perhaps we are in for a strange year.

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"AMD, however, has dismissed that these supply issues exist, and said in a statement that it has enough supply of the 7nm GPU to meet demand."

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Source: The Inquirer

PC Perspective Podcast #529 - HyperX Cloud MIX, G-SYNC Compatible Monitors

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2019 - 07:02 AM |
Tagged: video, Threadripper, podcast, Optane, micron, Intel, hyperx, g-sync compatibility, g-sync, freesync, cortana, 3dmark

PC Perspective Podcast #529 - 1/16/2019

This week on the show, we look at a review of a new wireless gaming headset from HyperX, talk about the new G-SYNC Compatibility program for FreeSync monitors, look at ray tracing performance in the new 3DMark Port Royal benchmark, and more!

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

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

Show Topics
01:34 - Review: HyperX Cloud MIX
05:19 - News: G-SYNC Compatible Monitor Driver
13:38 - News: Threadripper NUMA Dissociater
15:47 - News: HardOCP Interview with AMD's Scott Herkelman
21:35 - News: Intel-Micron 3D XPoint Split
24:34 - News: Cortana & Windows 10 Search
29:38 - News: 3DMark Port Royal Ray Tracing Benchmark
35:53 - Picks of the Week
46:24 - Outro

Sponsor: This week's episode is brought to you by Casper. Save $50 on select mattresses by visiting http://www.casper.com/pcper and using promo code pcper at checkout.

Picks of the Week
Jim: iPhone XS Max Battery Case
Jeremy: 3D-Printed Resistor Storage
Josh: ASRock X470 Taichi Motherboard
Sebastian: Koss KPH30ik Headphones

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

Microsoft Separates Cortana and Search in Latest Insider Build

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2019 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: windows insider, windows 10, search, microsoft, cortana, build 18317

In their announcement of the latest Windows 10 insider preview build (18317) Microsoft has revealed their separation of Cortana from Search. The news was posted on the Windows Blogs site this morning:

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Yes, this is Microsoft's official graphic from the announcement

"Going forward, we’ll be decoupling Search and Cortana in the taskbar. This will enable each experience to innovate independently to best serve their target audiences and use cases. Some Insiders have had this update for a few weeks now, and we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received about it so far! For those new to this update, when it rolls out to you, you’ll find clicking the search box in the taskbar now launches our experience focused on giving you the best in house search experience and clicking the Cortana icon will launch you straight into our voice-first digital assistant experience.

Other available Search and Cortana settings have also now been split between the two, along with the familiar group policies."

Whether or not this change means that Cortana can be removed entirely without removing Search remains to be seen, though the known processes for completely disabling/removing Cortana are currently more involved than just unchecking a box in settings, to say the least.

Source: Microsoft

Fus ro dah with a little help from your friends

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2019 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: skyrim, multiplayer, mod, gaming

Originally scheduled to be available a year or so back, the team developing a multiplayer mod for Skyrim are almost ready to release a closed beta.  You can see from the video posted over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN that they have indeed managed to play together using their mod, as well as being compatible with a number of other mods as no one plays vanilla Skyrim anymore.  There are still some bugs to work out, as evidenced in the video and it lacks some of the tricks of Elder Scrolls Online.  On the other hand it doesn't have a lot of the negatives of that game either. 

There is no release day yet, but keep your eyes open for more news as well as where to grab it, as Steam has declined to host it via their Workshop.

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"A Skyrim multiplayer mod is about to enter closed beta, and will soon offer you and up to seven friends the chance to explore the snowy bit of Tamriel together. The devs say the closed beta won’t last long, and an open one will be hot on its heels."

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