Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2017 - 09:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd
The first AMD Radeon driver of April isn’t aligned with a major game launch. Instead, this release seems to focus on gaming technologies in general. For VR, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1 adds Oculus’ Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) to R9 Fury, R9 390, and R9 290 graphics cards. It also adds, for Windows 10, SteamVR Asynchronous Reprojection to RX 480 and RX 470 graphics cards.
The driver also adds a couple of extra display options based on the (also just added) DP1.4 HBR3 cable standard. For now, it seems like it’s just (read: “just”) 8K 60 Hz dual-cable and 8K 30Hz single-cable. The increased bandwidth also allows for several other formats, but those have nothing to do with today’s driver.
Update: AMD released a video on the same day to advertise 8K / HDR / FreeSync 2. Embed below.
A few bugs were also fixed, most of which were general bug-fixes not associated with games. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the one exception, which should now scale better with multiple GPUs.
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1 is now available from AMD’s website.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | April 3, 2017 - 06:18 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: apple, Imagination Technologies, PowerVR
This morning, Imagination Technologies Group released a press statement announcing that Apple Inc. intends to phase out their technology in 15 to 24 months. Imagination has doubts that Apple could have circumvented every piece of intellectual property, and they have requested proof from Apple that their new solution avoids all patents, trade secrets, and so forth. According to Imagination’s statement, Apple has, thus far, not provided that proof, and they don’t believe Apple’s claims.
On the one hand, it makes sense that Apple would not divulge their own trade secrets to their current-partner, soon-competitor until it’s necessary for them to do so. On the other hand, GPUs, based on previous stories, like the Intel / NVIDIA cross-license six years ago, are still a legal minefield for new players in the industry.
So, in short, Apple says they don’t need Imagination anymore, but Imagination calls bull.
From the financial side of things, Apple is a gigantic chunk of Imagination’s revenue. For the year ending on April 30th, 2016, Apple contributed about £60.7 million GBP (~$75 million USD in today’s currency) to Imagination Technology’s revenue. Over that same period, Imagination Technology’s entire revenue was £120.0 million GBP ($149.8 million USD in today’s currency).
To see how losing essentially half of your revenue can damage a company, I’ve included a screenshot of their current stock price (via Google Finance... and I apologize for the tall shot). It must be a bit scary to do business with Apple, given how much revenue they can add and subtract on a moment’s notice. I’m reminded of the iPhone 6 sapphire glass issue, where GT Advanced Technologies took on a half-billion dollars of debt to create sapphire for Apple, only to end up rejected in the end. In that case, though, Apple agreed to absolve the company of its remaining debt after GT liquidated its equipment.
As for Apple’s new GPU? It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Apple already has their own low-level graphics API, Metal, so they might have a lot to gain, although some macOS and iOS applications use OpenGL and OpenGL ES.
We’ll find out in less than two years.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 3, 2017 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mad max, linux, kepler, maxwell, pascal, NVIDA, vulkan, opengl
With Vulkan support being added to Mad Max, at least in beta form, Phoronix decided to take advantage of the release to test the performance of a wide variety of NVIDIA cards on the API. They grabbed over a dozen cards encompassing three different architectures, from the GTX 680 through to the GTX 1080 Ti, so you get a very good look at the change in performance of NVIDIA on Vulkan. The results are clear, in every case Vulkan was superior to OpenGL and in many cases framerate more than doubled. Drop by for a look at what some predicted was a DOA API.
"Yesterday game porter firm Feral Interactive released a public beta of Mad Max that features a Vulkan renderer in place of its OpenGL API for graphics rendering on Linux. In addition to Radeon Vulkan numbers, I posted some NVIDIA Mad Max Linux benchmarks with both renderers. Those results were exciting on the few Pascal cards tested so I have now extended that comparison to feature a line-up of 14 NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards from Kepler, Maxwell, and Pascal families while looking at this game's OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti Founders Edition Review @ OCC
- The GTX 1080 Ti vs. The TITAN XP Overclocking Showdown @ BabelTechReviews
- ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1050 Ti OC 4GB @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 28, 2017 - 04:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, DirectX 12, Futuremark, 3dmark
The latest update to 3DMark adds Vulkan support to its API Overhead test, which attempts to render as many simple objects as possible while keeping above 30 FPS. This branch of game performance allows developers to add more objects into a scene, and design these art assets in a more simple, straight-forward way. This is, now, one of the first tests that can directly compare DirectX 12 and Vulkan, which we expect to be roughly equivalent, but we couldn’t tell for sure.
While I wasn’t able to run the tests myself, Luca Rocchi of Ocaholic gave it a shot on their Core i7-5820K and GTX 980. Apparently, Vulkan was just under 10% faster than DirectX 12 in their results, reaching 22.6 million draw calls in Vulkan, but 20.6 million in DirectX 12. Again, this is one test, done by a third-party, for a single system, and a single GPU driver, on a single 3D engine, and one that is designed to stress a specific portion of the API at that; take it with a grain of salt. Still, this suggests that Vulkan can keep pace with the slightly-older DirectX 12 API, and maybe even beat it.
This update also removed Mantle support. I just thought I’d mention that.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 21, 2017 - 07:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, vulkan, sli, multi-gpu, crossfire
Update (March 22nd @ 3:50pm EDT): And the Khronos Group has just responded to my follow-up questions. LDA has existed since Windows Vista, at the time for assisting with SLI and Crossfire support. Its implementation has changed in Windows 10, but that's not really relevant for Vulkan's multi-GPU support. To prove this, they showed LDA referenced in a Windows 8.1 MSDN post.
Vulkan's multi-GPU extensions can be used on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. The exact process will vary from OS to OS, but the GPU vendor can implement these extensions if they choose, and LDA mode isn't exclusive to Windows 10.
Update (March 21st @ 11:55pm EDT): I came across a Microsoft Support page that discusses issues with LDA in Windows 7, so it seems like that functionality isn't limited to WDDM 2.0 and Windows 10. (Why have a support page otherwise?) Previously, I looked up an MSDN article that had it listed as a WDDM 2.0 feature, so I figured DSOGaming's assertion that it was introduced with WDDM 2.0 was correct.
As such, LDA might not require a GPU vendor's implementation at all. It'll probably be more clear when the Khronos Group responds to my earlier request, though.
That said, we're arguing over how much a GPU vendor needs to implement; either way, it will be possible to use the multi-GPU extensions in Windows 7 and Windows 8.x if the driver supports it.
Update (March 21st @ 7:30pm EDT): The Khronos Group has just released their statement. It's still a bit unclear, and I've submit another request for clarification.
Specifically, the third statement:
If an implementation on Windows does decide to use LDA mode, it is NOT tied to Windows 10. LDA mode has been available on many versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and 8.X.
... doesn't elaborate what is required for LDA mode on Windows outside of 10. (It could be Microsoft-supported, vendor-supported, or something else entirely.) I'll update again when that information is available. For now, it seems like the table, below, should actually look something like this:
|macOS||Apple doesn't allow the Vulkan API to ship in graphics drivers.
|Linux / etc.||✓||✓||✓|
... but we will update, again, should this be inaccurate.
Update (March 20th @ 3:50pm EDT): The Khronos Group has just responded that the other posts are incorrect. They haven't yet confirmed whether this post (which separates "device groups" from the more general "multi-GPU in Vulkan") is correct, though, because they're preparing an official statement. We'll update when we have more info.
Original Post Below (March 19th @ 9:36pm EDT)
A couple of days ago, some sites have noticed a bullet point that claims Windows-based GPU drivers will need WDDM in “linked display adapter” mode for “Native multi-GPU support for NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire platforms” on Vulkan. This note came from an official slide deck by the Khronos Group, which was published during the recent Game Developers Conference, GDC 2017. The concern is that “linked display adapter” mode is a part of WDDM 2.0, which is exclusive to Windows 10.
This is being interpreted as “Vulkan does not support multi-GPU under Windows 7 or 8.x”.
I reached out to the Khronos Group for clarification, but I’m fairly sure I know what this does (and doesn’t) mean. Rather than starting with a written out explanation in prose, I will summarize it into a table, below, outlining what is possible on each platform. I will then elaborate below that.
|macOS||Apple doesn't allow the Vulkan API to ship in graphics drivers.
|Linux / etc.||✓||✓||✓|
So the good news is that it’s possible for a game developer to support multi-GPU (through what DirectX 12 would call MDA) on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x; the bad news is that no-one might bother with the heavy lifting. Linked display adapters allow the developer to assume that all GPUs are roughly the same performance, have the same amount of usable memory, and can be accessed through a single driver interface. On top of these assumptions, device groups also hide some annoying and tedious work inside the graphics driver, like producing a texture on one graphics card and quickly giving it to another GPU for rendering.
Basically, if the developer will go through the trouble of supporting AMD + NVIDIA or discrete GPU + integrated GPU systems, then they can support Windows 7 / 8.x in multi-GPU as well. Otherwise? Your extra GPUs will be sitting out unless you switch to DirectX 11 or OpenGL (or you use it for video encoding or something else outside the game).
On the other hand, this limitation might pressure some developers to support unlinked multi-GPU configurations. There are some interesting possibilities, including post-processing, GPGPU tasks like AI visibility and physics, and so forth, which might be ignored in titles whose developers were seduced by the simplicity of device groups. On the whole, device groups was apparently a high-priority request by game developers, and its inclusion will lead to more multi-GPU content. Developers who can justify doing it themselves, though, now have another reason to bother re-inventing a few wheels.
Or... you could just use Linux. That works, too.
Again, we are still waiting on the Khronos Group to confirm this story. See the latest update, above.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 15, 2017 - 03:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, GeForce 378.78
AMD has been offering support for DX12 more effectively than NVIDIA in many titles; not enough to consistently surpass the higher end GTX cards but certainly showing improvements. NVIDIA announce that their new driver, along with optimized support for the new Tom Clancy game will also offer performance increases in DX12 games. [H]ard|OCP put the numbers referenced in the PR to the test in their recent review. The news is good for the games which were mentioned but you should not expect any gains in DX11 titles with the new driver as you can see from the benchmarks results.
"We will take the new NVIDIA GeForce 378.78 performance driver and add it to our NVIDIA Video Card Driver Performance Review graphs to see if this driver has improved performance. NVIDIA has made some very bold claims lately, so let's see if those come through as true gaming advantages."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti On Linux: Best Linux Gaming Performance @ Phoronix
- ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- GTX 1080 Ti SLI Performance in 25 Games @ BabelTechReviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition Review @ Neoseeker
Background and setup
A couple of weeks back, during the excitement surrounding the announcement of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, NVIDIA announced an update to its performance reporting project known as FCAT to support VR gaming. The updated iteration, FCAT VR as it is now called, gives us the first true ability to not only capture the performance of VR games and experiences, but the tools with which to measure and compare.
Watch ths video walk through of FCAT VR with me and NVIDIA's Tom Petersen
I already wrote an extensive preview of the tool and how it works during the announcement. I think it’s likely that many of you overlooked it with the noise from a new GPU, so I’m going to reproduce some of it here, with additions and updates. Everyone that attempts to understand the data we will be presenting in this story and all VR-based tests going forward should have a baseline understanding of the complexity of measuring VR games. Previous tools don’t tell the whole story, and even the part they do tell is often incomplete.
If you already know how FCAT VR works from reading the previous article, you can jump right to the beginning of our results here.
Measuring and validating those claims has proven to be a difficult task. Tools that we used in the era of standard PC gaming just don’t apply. Fraps is a well-known and well-understood tool for measuring frame rates and frame times utilized by countless reviewers and enthusiasts, but Fraps lacked the ability to tell the complete story of gaming performance and experience. NVIDIA introduced FCAT and we introduced Frame Rating back in 2013 to expand the capabilities that reviewers and consumers had access to. Using more sophisticated technique that includes direct capture of the graphics card output in uncompressed form, a software-based overlay applied to each frame being rendered, and post-process analyzation of that data, we could communicate the smoothness of a gaming experience, better articulating it to help gamers make purchasing decisions.
For VR though, those same tools just don’t cut it. Fraps is a non-starter as it measures frame rendering from the GPU point of view and completely misses the interaction between the graphics system and the VR runtime environment (OpenVR for Steam/Vive and OVR for Oculus). Because the rendering pipeline is drastically changed in the current VR integrations, what Fraps measures is completely different than the experience the user actually gets in the headset. Previous FCAT and Frame Rating methods were still viable but the tools and capture technology needed to be updated. The hardware capture products we used since 2013 were limited in their maximum bandwidth and the overlay software did not have the ability to “latch in” to VR-based games. Not only that but measuring frame drops, time warps, space warps and reprojections would be a significant hurdle without further development.
NVIDIA decided to undertake the task of rebuilding FCAT to work with VR. And while obviously the company is hoping that it will prove its claims of performance benefits for VR gaming, it should not be overlooked the investment in time and money spent on a project that is to be open sourced and free available to the media and the public.
NVIDIA FCAT VR is comprised of two different applications. The FCAT VR Capture tool runs on the PC being evaluated and has a similar appearance to other performance and timing capture utilities. It uses data from Oculus Event Tracing as a part of the Windows ETW and SteamVR’s performance API, along with NVIDIA driver stats when used on NVIDIA hardware to generate performance data. It will and does work perfectly well on any GPU vendor’s hardware though with the access to the VR vendor specific timing results.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 10, 2017 - 11:15 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, tom petersen, pascal, nvidia, live, gtx 1080 ti, gtx, gp102, geforce
Our review of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB graphics card is live and ready for consumption! Make sure you check it out before this afternoon's live stream!
Did you miss our GTX 1080 Ti Live Stream? Catch the reply below!
Ready your mind and body, it’s time for another GeForce GTX live stream hosted by PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and NVIDIA’s Tom Petersen. The general details about the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card are already official and based on the hype train and the response on social media, there is more than a little excitement.
On hand to talk about the new graphics card will be Tom Petersen, well known in our community. While the GTX 1080 Ti will be the flagship part of our live stream we will also be diving into the world of VR performance evaluation and how the new FCAT VR tool will help reviewers and standard enthusiast see where their systems stand in producing smooth, effective virtual reality gaming. We have done quite a few awesome live steams with Tom in the past, check them out if you haven't already.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and FCAT VR Live Stream
1pm PT / 4pm ET - March 9th
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
The event will take place Thursday, March 9th at 4pm ET / 1pm PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Tom to answer live.
Tom has a history of being both informative and entertaining and these live streaming events are always full of fun and technical information that you can get literally nowhere else. Previous streams have produced news as well – including statements on support for Adaptive Sync, release dates for displays and first-ever demos of triple display G-Sync functionality. You never know what’s going to happen or what will be said!
This just in fellow gamers: Tom is going to be providing a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card to give away during the live stream! We won't be able to ship it until the end of next week, but one lucky viewer of the live stream will be able to get their paws on the fastest graphics card we have ever tested!! Make sure you are scheduled to be here on March 9th at 1pm PT / 4pm ET!!
Win this beauty.
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Tom or I?
So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Thursday at 4pm ET / 1pm PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2017 - 02:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Alongside the launch of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, NVIDIA has released a new graphics driver that, one, obviously supports the new card and, two, also rolls in a bunch of optimizations for DirectX 12 titles. The graphics vendor already announced the initiative at last week’s GDC, but it is now released and available for public use. 378.78 is also “Game Ready” for Ghost Recon Wildlands, although that’s mostly for Ansel support; most of the optimizations for Wildlands were pushed into the previous driver.
The advertised gains vary from title to title, but they claim that Rise of the Tomb Raider at 4K will jump from 20 FPS to 27 FPS. This can be viewed as either a frame rate gain of about 33%, or it can be seen as an average frame time savings of about 12ms each and every frame. If that’s what actual end-users will see -- that’s a lot!
They also note improvements in Vulkan support, too, but without any hard, numeric assertions.
If you have a GeForce 1050 Ti notebook, then this driver is also said to fix a potential bluescreen bug that you have been facing. You can pick it up from GeForce Experience or the NVIDIA website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2017 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1080 ti, geforce, gp102, gtx 1080 ti, nvidia, pascal
As you have probably noticed from our front page, today is the day we can see how the GTX 1080 Ti performs in reviewers systems. The unfortunate news is that you can't buy one yet nor do we know when you will be able to spend the $699 it will cost to order one. We can share the performance with you, once again NVIDIA's Ti model takes the top spot out performing even the $1200 TITAN X. As for overclocking the reference model, as we have not had a chance to test any cards with third party cooler on them, [H]ard|OCP were able to increase the GPU frequency over 200MHz to 1967-1987MHz in game and push the memory to 12GHz, somewhat better than what Ryan was able to. Check out their full review here, with many more just below.
"NVIDIA is launching the fastest video card it offers for gaming today in the new $699 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. We will take this video card and test it against the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX TITAN X at 1440p and 4K resolutions to find out how it compares. Is it really faster than a $1200 GeForce GTX TITAN X Pascal?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti @ The Tech Report
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti review: The fastest graphics card, again @ Ars Technica
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- The NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11GB @ Kitguru
- The GTX 1080 Ti Performance Review vs. the TITAN XP & the GTX 1080 @ BabelTechReviews
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti CPU Showdown: i7 7700k Vs Ryzen R7 1800x Vs i7 5820k @ eTeknix
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review: A Look At 4K & Ultrawide Gaming @ Techgage
- MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC 6 GB @ techPowerUp