Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | February 21, 2019 - 03:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, mx250, mx230, mx, gp108, geforce mx
Two new laptop GPUs launched in NVIDIA’s low-end MX line. This classification of products is designed to slide above the GPUs found on typical laptop CPUs by a wide enough margin to justify an extra chip, but not enough to be endorsed as part of their gaming line.
As such, pretty much the only performance number that NVIDIA provides is an “up-to” factor relative to Intel’s HD620 iGPU as seen on the Core i5-8265U. For reference, the iGPU on this specific CPU has 192 shader units running at up to 1.1 GHz. Technically there exists some variants that have boost clocks up to 1.15 GHz but that extra 4.5% shouldn’t matter too much for this comparison.
Versus this part, the MX250 is rated as up to 3.5x faster; the MX230 is rated at up to 2.6x faster.
One thing that I should note is that the last generation’s MX150 is listed as up to 4x the Intel UHD 620, although they don’t state which specific CPU’s UHD 620.
This leads to a few possibilities:
- The MX250 has a minor performance regression versus the MX150 in the “up to” test(s)
- The UHD 620 had significant driver optimizations in at least the “up to” test(s)
- The UHD 620 that they tested back then is significantly slower than the i5-8265U
- They rounded differently then vs now
- They couldn’t include the previous “up to” test for some reason
Unfortunately, because NVIDIA is not releasing any specifics, we can only list possibilities and maybe speculate if one seems exceedingly likely. (To me, none of the first four stands out head-and-shoulders above the other three.)
Like the MX150 that came before it, both the MX230 and MX250 will use GDDR5 memory. The MX130 could be paired with either GDDR5 or DDR3.
Anandtech speculates that it is based on the GP108, which is a safe assumption. NVIDIA confirmed that the new parts are using the Pascal architecture, and the GP108 is the Pascal chip in that performance range. Anandtech also claims that the MX230 and MX250 are fabricated under Samsung 14nm, while the “typical” MX150 is TSMC 16nm. The Wikipedia list of NVIDIA graphics, however, claims that the MX150 is fabricated at 14nm. While both could be right, a die shrink would make a bit of sense to squeeze out a few more chips from a wafer (if yields are relatively equal). If that’s the case, and they changed manufacturers, then there might be a slight revision change to the GP108; these changes happen frequently, and their effects should be invisible to the end user… but sometimes they make a difference.
It’ll be interesting to see benchmarks when they hit the market.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2019 - 06:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: danger, rtx, bios, flash, nvidia, risky business
So you like living dangerously and are willing to bet $1000 or more on something that might make your new NVIDIA GPU a bit faster, or transform it into a brick? Then does Overclockers Club have a scoop for you! There exists a tool called NVFlash, with or without added ID Mismatch Modified, which will allow you to change the BIOS of your card to another manufacturers design which can increase your cards power envelope and offer better performance ...
or kill it dead ...
or introduce artifacting, random crashes or all sort of other mischief.
On the other hand, if all goes well you can turn your plain old RTX card into an overclocked model of the same type and see higher performance overall. Take a look at OCC's article and read it fully before deciding if this is a risk you might be willing to take.
"WARNING! Flash the BIOS at your own risk. Flashing a video card BIOS to a different model and/or series WILL void your warranty. This process can also cause other permanent issues like video artifacts and premature hardware failure!"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z @ Kitguru
- GeForce 418.91 Driver Performance Analysis @ BabelTechReviews
- Battlefield V DLSS Tested: Overpromised, Underdelivered @ Techspot
- Far Cry New Dawn @ Guru of 3D
- Metro Exodus PC Graphics Benchmark @ Techspot
- AMD Radeon VII @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 18, 2019 - 12:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce
Apparently the latest WHQL driver, 418.81, can cause random application crashes and TDRs (“Timeout Detection and Recovery”) issues on Windows 7 and 8.1. NVIDIA has followed up with a hotfix driver, 418.99, that addresses the issue.
Hotfix drivers do not undergo full testing, so they should not be installed unless you are concerned about the specific issues they fix. In this case, because the bug does not affect Windows 10, a Windows 10 driver is not even provided.
In case you’re wondering what “Timeout Detection and Recovery” is, Windows monitors the graphics driver to make sure that work is being completed quickly (unless it is not driving a monitor – Windows doesn’t care how long a GPU is crunching on compute tasks if it is not being used for graphics). If it hangs for a significant time, Windows reboots the graphics driver just in case it was stuck in, for example, an infinite loop caused by a bad shader or compute task. Without TDR, the only way to get out of this situation would be to cut power to the system.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2019 - 09:02 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: turing, tuf, RTX 2060, nvidia, graphics card, factory overclocked, asus
Asus recently announced two new Turing-based graphics cards that are part of the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series. Clad in urban camo with shades of grey, the Asus TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming and TUF RTX 2060 OC 6GB Gaming pair Nvidia’s 12nm TU106 GPU and 6GB of GDDR6 memory with a dual fan cooler and backplate. As part of the TUF series, the new graphics cards use Asus’ Auto Extreme manufacturing technology and are put through its 144-hour validation program.
The RTX 2060 GPU features 1920 CUDA cores, 120 TMUs, 48 ROPs, 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores. The standard TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming graphics card comes clocked at 1365 MHz base and 1689 MHz boost out of the box with the boost clock jumping to 1710 MHz in OC Mode. The OC model graphics card, however, comes clocked by default at 1365 MHz base and 1710 MHz boost in Gaming Mode and 1740 MHz boost in OC Mode (when using Asus’ software).
The TUF Graphics cards feature one dual layer DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and one DisplayPort 1.4 video outputs. The dual fan cooler is IP5X dust resistant and uses dual ball bearing fans. A black metal backplate is secured to the card to help PCB rigidity. The cards measure 20.4 x 12.5 x 4.6 centimeters so should be compatible with most cases. The cards are powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.
The TUF cards use a no-frills design sans any RGB or extra features so should be priced competitively and may go well with a silent PC or sleeper PC build. Unfortunately, Asus is not talking specific pricing or availability yet.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Review Part One: Initial Testing
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Review Part Two: 1440p and OC
- The Architecture of NVIDIA's RTX GPUs - Turing Explored
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2019 - 01:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1440p, radeon vii, amd
When The Tech Report initially tested AMD's brand new Radeon VII they focused on 4K performance. This lead to some feedback from those playing at 1440p, which convinced them to revisit the card and the competition, at this resolution. The results remained similar to their previous tests, demonstrating this is a card that is good a multiple things but not the best at any. The price to performance beats a GTX 1080 Ti if you can pick up the Radeon VII at MSRP, but overall the RTX 2080 remains a better card for gaming.
On the other hand if you are doing work which requires large pools of VRAM, the Radeon VII offers a good mix of performance for such tasks and can power your after hours gaming.
"Our initial tests showed AMD's Radeon VII couldn't beat the GeForce RTX 2080 for 4K gaming superiority, but many more enthusiasts have high-refresh-rate 2560x1440 displays to deliver their pixel fix. We retested the RTX 2080 and Radeon VII at 2560x1440 to see which card comes out on top."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon VII Mega Benchmark @ Techspot
- Battlefield V - DLSS PC performance update @ Guru of 3D
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q @ Techspot
- OCC Reviews the MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z 6G @ Overclockers Club
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 06:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Adrenalin Edition, 19.2.2
Along with the adrenaline rush of releasing the new Radeon VII comes a new driver, available everywhere at the low price of $0.00! The 19.2.2 versions offers you the following benefits AMD fans.
- AMD Radeon VII Far Cry
- New Dawn Metro Exodus
- Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
- Crackdown 3
- Up to 5% performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 on a Radeon RX 590
- Using the Alt+Tab shortcut out of a fullscreen application or game may be slow or take longer than expected when using a display connected by DisplayPort.
- Apply and Discard buttons may not appear in some areas of Radeon Overlay under the Radeon WattMan overclocking tab.
- Radeon WattMan may fail to apply memory clock changes on AMD Radeon VII.
- AMD Radeon VII may intermittently experience a system hang when attempting to perform a timeout detection and recovery on Windows7 system configurations.
- Radeon WattMan may display the incorrect max fan/temperature values for AMD Radeon VII.
- Radeon WattMan may experience issues with changed values failing to save or load when multiple changes are applied at once.
- AMD Radeon VII may experience intermittent system stability issues on some X399 motherboards.
- Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds may intermittently experience an application crash when changing post-processing settings.
- Radeon Settings may experience an application hang when loading the performance histogram in a game profile through game manager.
- Update Notifications may sometimes incorrectly list the currently installed driver as an available upgrade.
- Apex Legends may intermittently experience line corruption on AMD Radeon VII.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 12:17 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: whql, rtx, raytracing, nvidia, Metro Exodus, graphics, gpu, geforce, gaming, driver, DLSS, battlefield V, 418.91
NVIDIA's GeForce 418.91 WHQL drivers have brought DLSS support to Battlefield V and both real-time ray tracing and DLSS to the upcoming Metro Exodus, which will be the first game to support the technologies from day one when it is released (now exclusively on Epic's game store) on February 15.
Battlefield V - This stunning World War II combat game, created by EA and DICE, was the first to support real-time ray-traced reflections and has now added support for DLSS — giving a performance boost of up to 40 percent with ray-tracing reflections enabled.
Metro Exodus - The third installment in the haunting Metro franchise, developed by 4A Games and Deep Silver, will support RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing — the first time it has been used in a game for global illumination. At launch, the game will also support DLSS, boosting performance up to 30 percent, as well as a host of other NVIDIA gaming technologies, including HairWorks, PhysX, Ansel and Highlights.
NVIDIA has posted a video showcasing the performance improvement with DLSS vs. real-time ray tracing in BFV, where gains of up to 40% are advertised:
As to Metro Exodus, with the additional ray traced components it would seem the upcoming game will end up being a popular benchmark for the technologies, after we have seem most of the ray tracing and DLSS discussion surround BFV to this point (Port Royal notwithstanding). At some future date Shadow of the Tomb Raider will enter the mix as well, but this is still awaiting ray tracing and DLSS support via a planned update.
For its part Metro is only gaining 30% with DLSS (vs. real-time ray tracing + TAA) according to NVIDIA, which is obviously lower than the boost to BFV. We have seen a preview of real-time ray tracing and DLSS performance in the latest Metro game over at Tom's Hardware, where they look at the performance differences and perceived quality between the two. It's also worth noting that both BFV and Metro Exodus are not fully ray traced games, as Tom's explains:
"Battlefield applies ray tracing to reflections. Metro Exodus uses it for global illumination from the sun/sky, modeling how light interacts with various surfaces. Local light sources are not ray traced, though."
The Battlefield V DLSS update is now rolling out, with some early performance numbers already available. Metro Exodus will be released on February 15, and is the latest title to eschew Steam in favor of Epic's new platform.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 03:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, ue4, epic games, dxr, DirectX 12, microsoft
The upcoming version of Unreal Engine, 4.22, will include several new features.
The most interesting addition for our audience is probably “Early Access” support for DirectX 12 Raytracing (DXR) on DirectX 12. This includes the low-level framework to cast and evaluate rays in shaders (although they don’t clarify whether that means written shaders, nodes for graph-based shaders, or both) as well as higher-level features that use DXR, such as area lights, soft shadows, and reflections. They have also added a denoiser for shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion, which will improve image quality with lower sample counts.
If you remember NVIDIA’s RTX announcement, many of their first-party demos were built using Unreal Engine 4. This includes the Star Wars demo with the two Stormtroopers putting their feet in their mouths on an elevator with their boss. It makes sense that Epic would be relatively far along in RTX support, especially just before GDC.
A few other additions include Visual Studio 2019 support (although Visual Studio 2017 is still the default). The new Unreal Audio Engine is now enabled by default for new projects, which was a complete re-write of the original system that started a few years ago. The old audio system was a bit of a mess, and, worse, varied from platform to platform.
Unreal Engine 4.22 also (experimentally) opts-in to the much longer file and paths names that were introduced with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The previous limit was 260 characters for a full path, which was defined as MAX_PATH in Win32. I’m not sure what the new limit is, but I think it’s 32,767 characters after expansion. I could be wrong, though.
If you have the Epic Launcher installed, whether it’s for Unreal Engine, Fortnite, something from the Epic Store, Unreal Tournament 4, or whatever, then you can check out Unreal Engine 4.22 for free. (Royalties apply under certain circumstances… but, at that point, you are making money off of it.)
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 02:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, battlefield V, ea, dice, nvidia, DLSS, dxr
The Battlefield V Tides of War Chapter 2: Lightning Strikes Update #3 patch, beyond sounding like a Final Fantasy title, has quite a few major improvements. The headlining feature is improved RTX support, which we will discuss shortly, but fans of the game may appreciate the other bullet points, too.
But first, because we are a computer hardware site, the RTX stuff. DLSS, which was recently added to 3DMark and greatly improved the image quality, has been added to Battlefield V. This setting uses machine learning to produce a best guess at antialiasing, versus calculating it with a direct algorithm (such as with TXAA or FXAA). Now that MSAA is somewhat uncommon, because it is incompatible with certain rendering processes, we’re stuck with either antialiasing via post-process or super-sampling. Super-sampling is expensive, so it’s usually either FXAA, which tries to find edges and softens them, or TXAA, which gives neighboring frames different sub-pixel positions and blends them. Both cases have issues. TXAA is considered the “higher end” option, although it gets ugly when objects move, especially quickly and visibly smooth. Because DLSS is basically a shortcut to provide something that looks like super-sampling, it should avoid many of these issues.
DXR raytracing performance was also improved.
Okay, now the tech enthusiasts can stop reading – it’s time for the fans.
Vaultable object detection is said to have a major improvement with this release. DICE acknowledges that Battlefield V movement wasn’t as smooth as it should be. There were a lot of waist-high barriers that players can get stuck behind, which the vaulting system should propel them over. It should be much easier to move around the map after this update, which is good for people like me who like to sneak around and flank.
DICE has also discussed several netcode changes, such as adding more damage updates per packet and fixing some issues where damage should be ignored, or healing should occur but would be ignored, and so forth. Basically, all of the netcode improvements were related to health or damage in some way, which is a good area to focus on.
Also, the Rush game mode, introduced in the Battlefield Bad Company sub-franchise, will return on March 7th "for a limited time"... whatever they mean by that.
The update should be available now.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 11:17 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Vega 20, update, uefi, radeon vii, radeon, graphics, gpu, firmware, csm, bios, amd
After reports first surfaced regarding the lack of UEFI support from the new Radeon VII graphics card (with an ASRock BIOS update the first to address the issue), AMD has announced the release of a new BIOS update for AIB partners to add this UEFI GOP support to the card.
The statement from AMD, via TechPowerUp:
"AMD has released a BIOS for the Radeon VII with UEFI GOP included for our AIB partners. We will also make a one click installable BIOS available to end users via AMD.com. We do not expect gaming performance differences between the non UEFI BIOS and the UEFI GOP included BIOS, although the non UEFI BIOS may experience slower boot times from cold boot."
AMD specifically mentions that performance will not be impacted with the new BIOS, though boot times should improve slightly with the card no longer causing CSM to be enabled, which also broke the secure boot process. The one-click updater for owners of any Radeon VII will be available directly from AMD, and I will update our review sample when that becomes available.
In other Radeon VII news, the launch of the latest Radeon Pro driver (Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q1 WHQL) includes some limited support for consumer Radeon cards - including Radeon VII, though not available at launch as reported by AnandTech this morning:
Image via AnandTech
"Under the program, certain Radeon consumer cards, including R5 300, R7, and RX series products will be able to install the Radeon Pro drivers. These products, in turn will be able to access certain professional features of the Radeon Pro drivers, but lack the all-critical certifications and optimizations that typically set the Pro drivers apart."
The lack of workstation optimizations make this less attractive for owners of Radeon VII, though it makes sense as otherwise there would be even less differentiation between the latest Radeon flagship and its workstation counterpart (Radeon Instinct MI50).