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Hardware

NVIDIA Launches GeForce GTX 1060 To Take On AMD's Radeon RX 480 (hothardware.com) 88

Reader MojoKid writes: NVIDIA just launched their answer to AMD's Radeon RX 480 mainstream card today, dubbed the GeForce GTX 1060. The GP106 GPU at the heart of the GeForce GTX 1060 has roughly half of the resources of NVIDIA's current flagship GeForce GTX 1080. NVIDIA claims the GTX 1060 performs on par with a previous generation high-end GeForce GTX 980 and indeed this 120W mainstream offers an interesting mix of low-power and high-performance. The new GeForce GTX 1060 features a new Pascal derivative GPU that's somewhat smaller, called the GP106. The GP106 features 10 streaming multiprocessors (SM) with a total of 1280, single-precision CUDA cores and eight texture units. The GeForce GTX 1060 also features six 32-bit memory controllers, for 192-bits in total. GeForce GTX 1060 cards with either 6GB or 3GB of GDDR5 memory will be available and offered performance that just misses the mark set by the pricier AMD Radeon R9 Nano but often outran the 8GB Radeon RX 480. The GeForce GTX 1060 held onto its largest leads over the Radeon RX 480 in the DirectX 11 tests, though the Radeon had a clear edge in OpenCL and managed to pull ahead in Thief and in some DirectX 12 tests (like Hitman). The GeForce GTX 1060, however, consumes significantly less power than the Radeon RX 480 and is quieter too.You may also want to read PCPerspective's take on this.
Graphics

Leak Shows PlayStation 4 Neo Is Expected To Have Twice The Graphics Horsepower (hothardware.com) 99

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: Following rumors of a more powerful console in Sony's not-too-distant future -- one that will be capable of playing games at a 4K resolution -- the Japanese electronics maker last month opted to confirm it is indeed in development. Called PlayStation 4 Neo, the upgraded system will bring better hardware to the console scene to meet the needs of gaming on a television with four times as many pixels as a Full HD 1080p display. What's it going to take to game at 4K in the living room? A leaked internal document outlines some very interesting specs of the new model PS4 console. Assuming the leaked document is up to date with Sony's current plans, the PS4 Neo will use the same Jaguar cores as the original PS4, but clocked 500MHz faster, with 8 cores at 2.1GHz (up from 1.6GHz). The more significant upgrade will be the GPU. According to the slide, the PS4 Neo will use an improved version of AMD's GCN compute units (CUs), with twice the number of CUs at 36 instead of 18. They'll also be clocked faster -- 911MHz versus 800MHz. The net result is a 2.3x improvement in floating point performance.
Graphics

Ask Slashdot: Why Don't Graphics Cards For VR Use Real-Time Motion Compensation? 159

dryriver writes: Graphics cards manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD have gone to great pains recently to point out that in order to experience virtual reality with a VR headset properly, you need a GPU capable of pushing at least a steady 90 FPS per eye, or a total of at least 180 FPS for both eyes, and at high resolutions to boot. This of course requires the purchase of the latest, greatest high-end GPUs made by these manufacturers, alongside the money you are already plonking down for your new VR headset, and a good, fast gaming-class PC. This raises an interesting question: virtually every LCD/LED TV manufactured in the last 5 or 6 years has a 'Real-Time Motion Compensation' feature built in. This is the not-so-new-at-all technique of taking, say, a football match broadcast live at 30 FPS or Hz, and algorithmically generating extra in-between frames in real time, thus giving you a hyper-smooth 200-400 FPS/Hz image on the TV set with no visible stutter or strobing whatsoever. This technology is not new. It is cheap enough to include in virtually every TV set at every price level (thus the hardware that performs the real-time motion compensating cannot cost more than a few dollars total). And the technique should, in theory, work just fine with the output of a GPU trying to drive a VR headset. Now suppose you have an entry level or mid-range GPU capable of pushing only 40-60 FPS in a VR application (or a measly 20-30 FPS per eye, making for a truly terrible VR experience). You could, in theory, add some cheap motion compensation circuitry to that GPU and get 100-200 FPS or more per eye. Heck, you might even be able to program a few GPU cores to run the motion compensation as a real-time GPU shader as the rest of the GPU is rendering a game or VR experience.

So my question: Why don't GPUs for VR use real-time motion compensation techniques to increase the FPS pushed into the VR headset? Would this not make far more financial sense for the average VR user than having to buy a monstrously powerful GPU to experience VR at all?
Hardware

NVIDIA Announces GeForce GTX 1060, Fierce Competition For the Radeon RX 480 (hothardware.com) 144

Reader MojoKid writes: In May, NVIDIA released the GeForce GTX 1080. The company followed up on that beastly chip in June with slightly cut down GeForce GTX 1070 and that trickledown effect is now reaching the mainstream market with the arrival of the GeForce GTX 1060. The GeForce GTX 1060 can be seen as a direct response to the AMD Radeon RX 480, which offers a ton of performance at the $200 price point. While still built using a 16nm FinFET process, the GP106 core on the GTX 1060 features 1280 CUDA cores; exactly half that of the GTX 1080. Base clock for the GPU is 1506MHz, while the boost clock is 1708MHz (NVIDIA is quick to point out, however, the GPU core can easily be overclocked to 2GHz+). The GTX 1060 features a 192-bit memory bus and comes with 6GB of GDDR5 memory running at 8Gbps. The card has a single 6-pin power connector and a 120W TDP. NVIDIA claims that the GTX 1060 is on average 15 percent faster than its closest competitor, the Radeon RX 480. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 will be available starting July 19th from a wide variety of third-party partners including ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI and Zotac etc. with a starting price of $249. The NVIDIA-built GeForce GTX 1060 Founder Edition will be available for $299.
AMD

AMD Details Driver Fix For Radeon RX 480's Controversial, Spec-Exceeding Power Draw (pcworld.com) 157

AMD's 150-watt Radeon RX 480 apparently draws more power than it is supposed to. According to Tom's Hardware blog, AMD's new graphics card used an average of 168W under load. Furthermore, the publication found that card pulled up to a whopping 90W over the motherboard's PCI-E slot, far exceeding the 75W maximum the slot it rated for. PC Perspective's findings were similar, with Witcher 3 title consuming over 190W of sustained power draw when the RX 480 was overclocked. Worse, the blog discovered that AMD's card drew 7 amps over the PCI-E slot's +12v rail, which is rated for 5.5 amps maximum. These issues could theoretically (but not likely) damage lower-end motherboards in extreme circumstances, writes PCWorld. The chip company last week addressed the concerns, noting that it will soon release a software fix. In a new statement to PCWorld, the company adds:"We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We're pleased to report that this driver -- Radeon Software 16.7.1 -- is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours. In this driver we've implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 -- this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus. Separately, we've also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the "compatibility" UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is "off" by default. Finally, we've implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the "compatibility" toggle.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Xbox Project Scorpio Puts Out 6 TFLOPs On Par With Current Gaming PCs (hothardware.com) 162

MojoKid quotes a report form HotHardware: Microsoft is hoping to usher in a new era in console gaming just over a year from now. While the company is just a month away from launching the Xbox One S refresh in the U.S., Project Scorpio is the console that really has gamers talking. During E3, Microsoft provided scant details on the console, only cluing us in to the fact that it would support virtual reality, 4K gaming, and push 6 TFLOPs of computing power. Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, CD Projekt Red's Principal Narrative Designer, had a few things to say about that last bullet point regarding compute performance. If you recall, AMD's newly introduced Radeon RX 480 offers peak performance of 5.8 TFLOPs, which puts it in close proximity of Microsoft's Project Scorpio. But of course, trying to compare consoles to PCs using this stat alone isn't exactly apples to oranges, though Tomaszkiewicz explains, "For sure [Scorpio] will have better looking games," Tomaszkiewicz said. "If this was available when we were working on Wild Hunt, I would expect similar quality that we have on PC right now or even better maybe." HotHardware's report goes on to mention that once new console hardware is introduced, it's frozen for years at a time without any updates. Therefore, it would only be a short while before PCs would completely outcompete it in terms of performance. Also, given the fact that Project Scorpio is not arriving until late 2017 at the earliest, the 6 TFLOPs of power won't seem like much when compared to the new cycle of high-end GPUs with far superior performance. Tomaszkiewicz agrees, adding, "New graphic cards are being released very often and more often than the new consoles being released. So I think it will put Scorpio on par with the PC is that we have at that point. But I think PC is growing so fast that it'll outpace [Scorpio]."
AMD

AMD RX 480 Offers Best-in-Class Performance For $199/$239 99

Reader Vigile writes: It's been a terribly long news cycle, but today is finally the day reviews and sales start of the new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card based on the company's latest Polaris architecture and built on 14nm FinFET process technology. With a starting price tag of $199 for the 4GB model and $239 for the 8GB, the RX 480 has some interesting performance characteristics. Compared to the GeForce GTX 970, currently selling for around $280, the RX 480 performs +/- 5-10% in DX11 games but PC Perspective found that the RX 480 was as much as 40% faster in DX12 titles like Gears of War, Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Compared to previous AMD products, the RX 480 is as fast as a Radeon R9 390 but uses just 150 watts compared to 275 watts for the previous generation. Chances are that NVIDIA will have a competing product based on Pascal available sometime in July, so AMD's advantage may be short-lived; but in the meantime, the Radeon RX 480 is clearly the best GPU for $200.AnandTech has more details.
Graphics

'Linux vs Windows' Challenge: Phoronix Tests Popular Games (phoronix.com) 141

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Larabel at Phoronix has combined their new results from intensive Linux/Windows performance testing for popular games on Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA graphics cards, and at different resolutions. "This makes it easy to see the Linux vs. Windows performance overall or for games where the Linux ports are simply rubbish and performing like crap compared to the native Windows game." The games tested included Xonotic, Tomb Raider, Grid Autosport, Dota 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, F1 2015, and Company of Heroes 2 -- and the results were surprising.

Xonotic v0.8 outperformed Windows with a NVIDIA card, but "The poor Xonotic performance on Linux with the Intel driver was one of the biggest surprises from yesterday's article. It's not anything we've seen with the other drivers." And while testing on the Source 2 engine revealed that Valve's Dota 2 "is a quality Linux port," most of the other results were disappointing -- regardless of the graphics card and driver. "Tomb Raider on Linux performs much worse than the Windows build regardless of your driver/graphics card... Shadow of Mordor's relative Linux performance is more decent than many other Linux games albeit still isn't running at the same speeds as the Windows games..."

The article concludes with a note of optimism. "Hopefully in due time with the next generation of games making use of Vulkan...we'll see better performance relative to Windows." Have Slashdot readers seen any performance issues while playing games on Linux?
Graphics

Alienware Launches Laptop With QHD OLED Display After 20 Years of Business (hothardware.com) 82

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: Dell's Alienware 13 gaming notebook has been popular among gamers and power users that want a little more horsepower in a relatively light 4.5 pound 13-inch machine. However, over the past couple of years, Alienware hasn't changed-up the design much -- until today that is. [In celebration of its 20th anniversary], the company is officially making the OLED display equipped Alienware 13 available today, which they debuted back in January at CES. Initial testing and review impressions show that, as expected, the OLED display sure is gorgeous. The OLED display of the Alienware 13 is also representative of a full revamp (except for the skins), including a 6th generation Intel Skylake Core series processor and an NVMe Solid State Drive. The real kicker, however, is that Alienware's 13.3-inch QHD (2560X1440) OLED display offers great saturation and contrast with an extremely crisp 1ms pixel response time that delivers beautiful image quality, whether working in content creation, or in fast-moving action while gaming. Viewing angles with the display are also superior to high-end IPS panels including Dell's own XPS 15 with its near bezel-less Infinity Edge panel. At E3 2016, AMD announced the Radeon RX 470 and RX 460, which will join the RX 480 in the company's Polaris family.
E3

AMD Announces Radeon RX 470, RX 460 Graphics Cards (gamespot.com) 48

An anonymous reader writes from a report via GameSpot: At E3 2016, AMD has announced the Radeon RX 470 and RX 460. They will join the RX 480 in the company's Polaris family. Both GPUs will be VR-capable, whereas the RX 480 is made for 1440p gaming. AMD says the RX 470 will focus on delivering a "refined, power-efficient HD gaming" experience, and that the RX 460 will offer a "cool and efficient solution for the ultimate e-sports gaming experience." The RX 480 will be priced starting at $200 for the 4GB variant, with the other two cards most likely priced lower. The company did also announce that the chips are extremely thin, offering a very low Z-height, and will fit into thin and light gaming notebooks. They support a wide variety of features that include DX12, HDR, HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.3/1.4, and H.265 encoding/decoding. AMD claims the RX 480 card outperforms $500 graphics cards in VR. The RX 470 and RX 460 have yet to have official release dates. However, the RX 480 is scheduled to launch on June 29. In April, AMD announced a plan to license the design of its top-of-the-line server processor to a newly formed Chinese company, creating a brand-new rival for Intel.
Graphics

Wearable 'Backpack PCs' Let You Experience High-End VR On The Go (mashable.com) 47

An anonymous reader writes: Powerful virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require powerful PCs with beefy graphics cards to operate. That means you'll usually be tethered to a PC tower in your home. Well, HP and MSI have announced portable 'backpack PCs' designed to be used with high-end virtual reality headsets. These PC internals are built in a backpack enclosure powered by a large battery pack. The HP Omen X weighs less than 10 pounds and has a battery that's big enough to last for up to one hour of gameplay, but you do have the option of swapping out the batteries for uninterrupted VR. Specs include either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and at least an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 or higher. The MSI Backpack PC features an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 980 graphics, according to the company. The last of the backpack PC trio is the Zotac Mobile VR. The company hasn't released any specs of the product but the company did state in a blog post, "This mobile solution not only removes the bulk of connecting to the large traditional computer towers of old, but also allows the user to roam freely in VR with their undivided attention. This innovative solution includes a system powerful enough to drive VR, and a portable battery pack to keep you going." There is no pricing or availability information as of yet.
Graphics

NVIDIA Shows New Doom Demo On GeForce GTX 1080 (hothardware.com) 142

MojoKid shares a video showing the upcoming Doom game on NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card using the Vulkan API, quoting this report from HotHardware: At a private briefing with NVIDIA, representatives from id software came out on stage to show off the upcoming game...the first public demonstration of the game using both NVIDIA's new flagship and the next-gen API, which is a low-overhead, cross-platform graphics and compute API akin to DirectX 12 and AMD's Mantle. In the initial part of the demo, the game is running smoothly, but its frame rate is capped at 60 frames per second. A few minutes in, however, at about the :53 second mark...the rep from id says, "We're going to uncap the framerate and see what Vulkan and Pascal can do".

With the framerate cap removed, the framerate jumps into triple digit territory and bounces between 120 and 170 frames per second, give or take. Note that the game was running on a projector at a resolution of 1080p with all in-game image quality options set to their maximum values. The game is very reminiscent of previous Doom titles and the action is non-stop.

AMD

A New AMD Licensing Deal Could Create More x86 Rivals For Intel (pcworld.com) 110

angry tapir quotes a report from PCWorld: AMD has announced a plan to license the design of its top-of-the-line server processor to a newly formed Chinese company, creating a brand-new rival for Intel. AMD is licensing its x86 processor and system-on-chip technology to a company called THATIC (Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd.), a joint venture between AMD and a consortium of public and private Chinese companies. AMD is providing all the technology needed for THATIC to make a server chip, including the CPUs, interconnects and controllers. THATIC will be able to make variants of the x86 chips for different types of servers. AMD is much smaller than Intel, and licensing offers it an easy way to expand the installed base of AMD technology. The resource-strapped company will also generate licensing revenue in the process, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
AMD

Report: Intel May Dump Nvidia, Turn To AMD For Radeon Graphics Licensing (pcworld.com) 124

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: Intel could dump Nvidia for a licensing deal with AMD as the chip giant tries to prop up its patent portfolio. Currently, Intel is under a $1.5 billion licensing agreement with Nvidia, which the two companies signed in 2011. At the time, the two companies had spent years fighting each other in courts over patent licensing, and the agreement put all that litigation to rest. Intel's Nvidia deal is set to expire on March 17, 2017, and a recent report by Bloomberg claimed that Intel is now looking to cut a deal with AMD instead.
AMD

AMD Releases Open-Source Driver Support For Next-Gen Polaris GPUs (phoronix.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time ever, AMD has provided open-source support for next-generation discrete GPUs ahead of the product's launch. AMD developers published initial open-source Linux driver support for Polaris GPUs with the addition adding over sixty-seven thousand lines of code to the Linux kernel. AMD Polaris graphics cards are expected this summer while AMD released the open-source driver support in advance for preparing their new Linux hybrid driver that relies upon the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver.
Graphics

AMD Publishes Preview Linux Hybrid Driver With Vulkan, OpenGL 4.5 Support (phoronix.com) 51

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has finally published the previously talked about closed-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux. Announced by AMD via the Phoronix Forums is the new hybrid driver dubbed "AMD GPU-PRO Beta Driver – Linux." This closed-source user-space driver provides the first AMD Vulkan support on Linux along with OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.0, and VDPAU video acceleration capabilities. But in using the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver, only the very latest AMD GPUs are currently supported (GCN 1.2+). Update: 03/19 03:22 GMT by T : Sorry for the borked link; now fixed.
AMD

AMD Announces 16 TFLOP Radeon Pro Duo (hothardware.com) 42

MojoKid writes: Remember that Radeon R9 Fury X2 graphics card that AMD CEO Lisa Su showed off months ago? We were previously lead to believe that the dual-GPU graphics card would deliver performance of around 12 TFLOPs. However, the card will actually deliver in excess of 16 TFLOPs. AMD says that this is more than enough to allow developers to "Develop content more rapidly for tomorrow's killer VR experiences while at work, and playing the latest DirectX 12 experiences at maximum fidelity while off work." And the Radeon R9 Fury X2 name? That's dead and buried — the card is now known as the Radeon Pro Duo. Not much is known about the new card at this point but the Radeon Pro Duo will apparently be available during the second quarter with an estimated street price of $1,499.
Operating Systems

Linux Kernel 4.5 Officially Released 88

prisoninmate writes: Yes, you're reading it right, after being in development for the past two months, Linux kernel 4.5 is finally here in its final production version. It is internally dubbed "Blurry Fish Butt" and received a total of seven RC builds since January 25, 2016. Prominent features of Linux kernel 4.5 include the implementation of initial support for the AMD PowerPlay power management technology, bringing high performance to the AMDGPU open-source driver for Radeon GPUs, scalability improvements in the free space handling of the Btrfs file system, and better epoll multithreaded scalability. The sources are now available for download from kernel.org. Update: 03/14 13:24 GMT by T : Reader diegocg lists some other notable features (a new copy_file_range() system call that allows to make copies of files without transferring data through userspace; support GCC's Undefined Behavior Sanitizer (-fsanitize=undefined); Forwarded Error Correction support in the device-mapper's verity target; support for the MADV_FREE flag in madvise(); the new cgroup unified hierarchy is considered stable; scalability improvements for SO_REUSEPORT UDP sockets; scalability improvements for epoll, and better memory accounting of sockets in the memory controller), and links to an explanation of the changes at Kernel Newbies.
AMD

AMD's XConnect Brings Native Driver Support For Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Cards 42

AnandTech writes about AMD's XConnect technology: Last night AMD issued a driver update that brought support for a new technology, XConnect. In a nutshell, XConnect is AMD's trade name for running external video cards via Thunderbolt 3, a long-awaited development that Thunderbolt owner Intel is finally getting behind and allowing. [...] AMD is also laying out the technical requirements for supporting XConnect. Not just any laptop/desktop with Thunderbolt 3 can support an external GPU, as there are specific hardware and software requirements, which is why the Blade Stealth is the first qualified laptop. In particular, laptops need to support what is being called the Thunderbolt 3 external graphics standard, or eGFX for short.
Graphics

New Tool Offers Look At Performance of UWP Games On Windows 29

Vigile writes: One of the concerns surrounding the recent debate of the Unified Windows Platform and games being released on it, such as the recent Gears of War Ultimate Edition, was the inability for media and consumers, and even entry level developers, to properly profile the performance of those applications. All of the standard testing applications like Fraps, FCAT and other overlays are locked out of UWP games. A Intel graphics engineer released a tool called PresentMon on GitHub yesterday that accesses event timers in Windows to monitor Present commands in any API, including DX11, DX12, Vulkan as well as games built on the Windows Store platform. Using this data, PC Perspective was able to profile the performance of the new Gears of War on PC, comparing frame time variability between the two flagship parts from NVIDIA and AMD. While it's not a perfect utility yet, there is hope now that this open source code will allow for performance metrics on any and all gaming titles.

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