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

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

Today at GTC 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:

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  • 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

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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

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.

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"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."

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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.

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“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

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.

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"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."

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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.

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"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."

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Source: Kitguru
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

Razer is never one to shy away from reinventing and refreshing its products. Every year or two, we find ourselves receiving a new press release on a familiar item that’s been updated or made new again with a fresh feature or new design. Today’s review is exactly one such item with the Razer Basilisk Essential. The design of the original Basilisk proved to be quite popular amongst gamers. Today’s update takes that same shape and intriguing multi-function paddle and trims it down to the titular essentials, landing at just under the fifty-dollar price point.

Is it worth adding to your Amazon wishlist? Join us as we find out!

Specifications

  • Current Pricing: $49.99
  • Sensor: 6400 DPI Optical Sensor
  • Gaming Grade Tactile Scroll Wheel
  • Multi-function paddle (single length)
  • Razer Mechanical Switches
  • 20 Million Click Lifespan
  • 7 programmable buttons
  • Customizable backlit logo
  • Weight: 95g

Razer_Basilisk_Essential_1.jpg

Starting, as always, with packaging, Razer is keeping to the mold here. We have the usual high-end product shot on the front and the specific feature highlights on the back. Inside, we see the first hints of the budget-oriented nature of the mouse in that it ships in a brown cardboard tray and styrofoam sleeve. This kind of packaging is perfectly fine, and transports the mouse safely, but it doesn’t offer the same kind of presentation found on some of Razer’s more expensive products.

Razer_Basilisk_Essential_2.jpg

Continue reading our review of the Razer Basilisk Essential gaming mouse

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.

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"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."

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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

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.

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"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."

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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.

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"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."

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Source: The Inquirer