NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL Driver Enables DLSS in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 12:17 PM |
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.

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From NVIDIA:

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.

Source: NVIDIA

Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview 1 Published: Initial DXR Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 03:56 PM |
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.

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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.)

Source: Epic Games

February 12th Update for Battlefield V Adds DLSS

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 02:53 PM |
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.

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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.

Source: EA / DICE

AMD Radeon VII UEFI Update and Pro Driver Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 11:17 AM |
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.

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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:

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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).

Source: TechPowerUp

Tutorial for RTX on Vulkan (VK_NVX_raytracing extension)

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 11, 2019 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, rtx, vulkan

Microsoft got quite a bit of mindshare with the announcement of DirectX Raytracing (DXR) at last year’s GDC 2018. NVIDIA’s RTX technology was somewhat synonymous with DirectX 12 for a while, although NVIDIA was not exactly hiding their equivalent extension for Vulkan. It’s not that you must use DirectX 12 – it’s that you cannot use DirectX 11.

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Image Credit: iOrange (via GitHub)

And now there’s a tutorial on GitHub by the user Sergii Kudlai (iOrange), complete with source code licensed under MIT. iOrange is a programmer for Digital Extremes, which is best known for their 2013 hit, Warframe, although they also collaborated with Epic Games on the earlier Unreal Tournament editions (UT2004 and earlier). They also worked on Epic Pinball.

The article is very casually worded and covers up to a single triangle.

If you’re interested in a little more depth, NVIDIA is also releasing Ray Tracing Gems for free on their website, although you need to be registered with their developer portal.

Ray Tracing Gems is available here. Currently only the first two chapters are up, but the rest will arrive every few days until approximately February 25th.

I loaded sixteen gigs of HBM2 ...

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 7, 2019 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: VRAM, video card, Vega 20, Vega, radeon vii, radeon, pcie, opencl, HBM2, graphics card, gaming, compute, amd, 7nm, 16GB

While enjoying the pictures and tests Sebastian ran on the new AMD Radeon VII, was there a game that we missed that is near and dear to your heart?  Then perhaps one of these reviews below will solve that, the list even includes Linux performance for those on that side of the silicon.  For instance, over at The Tech Report you can check out Monster Hunter: World, Forza Horizon 4 and the impressive results that the new 7nm card offers in Battlefield V. 

Check those results here.

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"AMD's Radeon VII is the first gaming graphics card powered by a 7 nm GPU: Vega 20. This hopped-up Vega chip comes linked up with 16 GB of HBM2 RAM good for 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth. We put this potent combination to the test to see if it can beat out Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Manufacturer: AMD

Overview and Specifications

After a month-long wait following its announcement during the AMD keynote at CES, the Radeon VII is finally here. By now you probably know that this is the world’s first 7nm gaming GPU, and it is launching today at a price equal to NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 at $699.

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The AMD Radeon VII in action on the test bench

More than a gaming card, the Radeon VII is being positioned as a card for content creators as well by AMD, with its 16GB of fast HBM2 memory and enhanced compute capabilities complimenting what should be significantly improved gaming performance compared to the RX Vega 64.

Vega at 7nm

At the heart of the Radeon VII is the Vega 20 GPU, introduced with the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 compute cards for the professional market back in November. The move to 7nm brings a reduction in die size from 495 mm2 with Vega 10 to 331 mm2 with Vega 20, but this new GPU is more than a die shrink with the most notable improvement by way of memory throughput, as this is significantly higher with Vega 20.

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Double the HBM2, more than double the bandwidth

While effective memory speeds have been improved only slightly from 1.89 Gbps to 2.0 Gbps, far more impactful is the addition of two 4GB HBM2 stacks which not only increase the total memory to 16GB, but bring with them two additional memory controllers which double the interface width from 2048-bit to 4096-bit. This provides a whopping 1TB (1024 GB/s) of memory bandwidth, up from 483.8 GB/s with the RX Vega 64.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon VII graphics card!

3DMark "Port Royal" DLSS Update Released

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 5, 2019 - 11:42 PM |
Tagged: rtx, nvidia, Futuremark, DLSS, 3dmark

If you have an RTX-based graphics card, then you can now enable Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) on 3DMark’s Port Royal benchmark. NVIDIA has also published a video of the benchmark running at 1440p alongside Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA).

Two things stand out about the video: Quality and Performance.

On the quality side: holy crap it looks good. One of the major issues with TAA is that it makes everything that’s moving somewhat blurry and/or otherwise messed up. For DLSS? It’s very clear and sharp, even in motion. It is very impressive. It also seems to behave well when there are big gaps in rendered light intensity, which, in my experience, can be a problem for antialiasing.

On the performance side, DLSS was shown to be significantly faster than TAA – seemingly larger than the gap between TAA and no anti-aliasing at all. The gap is because DLSS renders at a lower resolution automatically, and this behavior is published on NVIDIA’s website. (Ctrl+F for “to reduce the game’s internal rendering resolution”.)

Update on Feb 6th @ 12:36pm EST:

Apparently there's another mode, called DLSS 2X, that renders at native resolution. It won't have the performance boost over TAA, but it should have slightly higher rendering quality. I'm guessing it will be especially noticeable in the following situation.

End of Update.

While NVIDIA claims that it shouldn’t cause a noticeable image degradation, I believe I can see an example (in the video and their official screenshots) where the reduced resolution causes artifacts. If you look at the smoothly curving surfaces on the ring under the ship (as the camera zooms in just after 59s) you might be able to see a little horizontal jagged or almost Moiré effect. While I’m not 100% sure that it’s caused by the forced dip in resolution, it doesn’t seem to appear on the TAA version. If this is an artifact with the lowered resolution, I’m curious whether NVIDIA will allow us to run at the native resolution and still perform DLSS, or if the algorithm simply doesn’t operate that way.

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NVIDIA's Side-by-Side Sample with TAA

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NVIDIA's Side-by-Side Sample with DLSS

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DLSS with artifacts pointed out

Image Credit: NVIDIA and FutureMark. Source.

That said, the image quality of DLSS is significantly above TAA. It’s painful watching an object move smoothly on a deferred rendering setup and seeing TAA freak out just a little to where it’s noticeable… but not enough to justify going back to a forward-rendering system with MSAA.

Source: NVIDIA

Time to pull over and switch drivers, NVIDIA drops 418.81 WHQL

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 4, 2019 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: 418.81 WHQL, geforce, nvidia, driver

NVIDIA's newest WHQL driver has been updated to better support 3DMark Port Royal as well as getting ready for the release of the RTX laptops from a wide variety of manufacturers for those who love to game on the go.

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In addition to improved benchmark runs you will also get the following.

Added or updated the following SLI profiles: 

Source: NVIDIA

The RTX 2060's keep coming, this time with MSI's Gaming Z

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 1, 2019 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: GTX 2060, msi, RTX 2060 Gaming Z, nvidia

MSI's RTX 2060 GAMING Z 6GB will cost you a bit more than the reference edition, expect to see it eventually settle at $390, however everything from the PCB to the cooler has been customized and the Boost clock is an impressive 1830MHz.  [H]ard|OCP fired up the Afterburner and pushed that Boost to 1880MHz, as well as increasing the frequency of the 6GB of VRAM from 14GHz to 15.6GHz.  If you are looking for a decent gaming experience at 1440p, this card will suit you better than a GTX 1070 Ti.

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"We’ve got a fast factory overclocked MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z video card to review today. We’ll take it through its paces in many games, and find out how it performs, including overclocking performance with the competition. Does the RTX 2060 deliver better performance at a lower price compared to the last generation?"

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP