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Nvidia Releases "Creator Ready" RTX Drivers

Earlier this week, Nvidia rolled out a set of "creator ready" drivers that are compatible with consumer GPUs, but optimized for professional applications. This level of support is typically reserved for drivers that only work with pricey Quadro GPUs, but Nvidia says they've conducted "exhaustive multi-app testing" in programs like Adobe Premiere and After Effects. Support for this driver goes all the way back to Pascal cards, and extends to Nvidia's more affordable offerings like the GTX 1050 and the more recent 1660. Perhaps even more interestingly, Nvidia claims they've worked with a number of software vendors to leverage the raytracing and machine-learning muscle their RTX cards offer. Autodesk Arnold and Unreal Engine 4, for example, now support RTX accelerated rendering, and Redcine-X Pro seemingly uses Turing's updated video processing block to decode 8K video without taxing the CPU. Meanwhile, Lightroom uses "an extensively trained convolutional neural network to provide state-of-the-art image enhancing for RAW photographs." While I haven't tested Lightroom's new features myself, in my experience, neural networks can perform small miracles when processing images. Nvidia also claims the new driver features significant performance improvements in Photoshop, Premiere, Blender Cycles, and Cinema 4D.

"Creators are constantly faced with tight deadlines and depend on having the latest hardware and creative tools to complete their projects on time, without compromising quality," said Eric Bourque, senior software development manager at Autodesk. "We're excited that NVIDIA is introducing a Creator Ready Driver program because it will bring Arnold users an even higher level of support, helping them bring their creative visions to life faster and more efficiently." The first Creator Ready Driver is now available from NVIDIA.com or GeForce Experience. From GeForce Experience, you can switch between Game Ready and Creator Ready Drivers at any time by clicking the menu (three vertical dots in the top right corner). Creator Ready Drivers are supported for Turing-based GeForce RTX, GTX and TITAN GPUs, Volta-based TITAN V, Pascal-based GeForce GTX and TITAN GPUs, and all modern Quadro GPUs.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 8:57 AM (CDT)

Monster Hunter: World to Receive a 40GB High Resolution Texture Pack DLC

Capcom has announced Monster Hunter: World will receive a 40GB High Resolution Texture Pack DLC. The High Resolution Texture Pack will require 8GB of graphics memory (VRAM) and is free. Earlier this month, Capcom acknowledged that the PC is the 2nd most popular platform for Monster Hunter: World. Capcom's spokesperson was happy that the PC version of the game had broadened its appeal to users in Europe. Capcom has more expansions and content coming for the action game.

"We have announced Monster Hunter World Iceborne and will have more news to share in the future. Given the success of Monster Hunter World, it will be a key project for us," he said. "There is also more to come that I'm not allowed to discuss yet, if you want another interview with me on behalf of Capcom in the future."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 21, 2019 3:46 PM (CDT)

Epic Games Announces More Exclusives and Features

At its "State of Unreal" session at GDC 2019, Epic Games announced multiple new games coming to the Epic Games store. Some of the new exclusives include The Outer Worlds, Control, Industries of Titan, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain and many more titles. Humble Bundle has been chosen as a distribution partner for the Epic Games store which will allow it to sell Epic Games keys which will be redeemable on the Epic Games store. Epic will receive no revenue share from the sale of those games purchased through the Humble Store. Customers can link their Humble Store accounts to the Epic Games store for direct purchasing. Coming soon to early access in Unreal Engine 4.23 is Chaos; Unreal Engine's new high-performance physics and destruction system. Expect developers to create cinematic-quality visuals in real time with massive-scale levels of destruction. Epic Online Services provides a single SDK that works across any platform, game engine and store to help developers give their players a unified, cross-platform social experience. The library of tools include cloud storage, voice communications, matchmaking and more. Epic MegaGrants is a new $100,000,000 assistance fund for those people and companies doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community. Ray tracing, Microsoft Hololens streaming support, Google Stadia support and more were discussed during the opening session.

"Our success is inextricably linked to developer success, and that ethos guides everything we do," said Sweeney. "From our free Online Services and Epic MegaGrants to new Unreal Engine features, our goal is to help developers, and to equip them to give players even better experiences."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 20, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Receives RTX Treatment in Latest Patch

The latest patch for Shadow of the Tomb Raider has enabled support for real time ray tracing and NVIDIA's DLSS. To enable the features, gamers will need Window 10 update 1809 or higher, NVIDIA RTX 20- series GPU, and NVIDIA's latest drivers 419.35 and up. Nixxes announced the creation of a Beta, enabling the ability to switch back to an older version of the game, if problems arise.

We have just released the thirteenth PC patch for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, build 1.0.280. This patch focuses primarily on the release for the Nvidia's Ray-Traced Shadows and DLSS. While we expect this patch to be an improvement for everyone, if you do have trouble with this patch and prefer to stay on the old version, we have made a Beta available on Steam, Build 279, that can be used to switch back to the previous version.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 19, 2019 9:55 PM (CDT)

Not All RTX 2080s are Created Equal

Manufacturers have had some time to stock store shelves and warehouses with Nvidia RTX laptops, but as Techspot pointed out earlier this year, the nomenclature can be very confusing. The laptop "RTX 2080," for example, doesn't have the same performance as the desktop version of RTX 2080, and there are multiple version of the "RTX 2080 Max-Q" with different levels of performance. Hardware Unboxed tested the performance difference between the various versions, which you can see in the video below:
The fact that Nvidia can cram a 545mm^2 GPU into a low-power laptop at all is remarkable, and generally speaking, the RTX chips perform well in their relatively small power envelopes. But as the video points out, be careful if you're in the market for a gaming laptop, as the actual performance level of some RTX GPUs can be difficult to discern. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 10:24 AM (CDT)

Epic's Tim Sweeney Calls Store Exclusives "Procompetitive"

As controversy continues to mount, Tim Sweeney has returned to social media to justify store exclusives and defend the Epic Games Store from accusations it is bribing its way to the top with anti-competitive practices. Sweeney seems to believe the criticism is unfair because there’s nothing stopping Steam and other storefronts from playing his game, pointing out partnerships are a perfectly legit way of doing business. From where he’s standing, exclusives are "procompetitive," in that they compel other stores to differentiate themselves.

I get that you guys don’t like store-exclusive games, but that’s a completely separate, and PROCOMPETITIVE issue, compared to closing down platforms like Windows to monopolize distribution, as iOS does, and as Microsoft was trying to do with UWP and locked-down versions of Windows -- which failed, and whose proponents are now gone and replaced with great leaders like Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer who are driving Windows forward as an open platform!

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 11:55 AM (CDT)

Classic World of Warcraft Content Progression Revealed

For many of us, World of Warcraft (WoW) was the first MMO that appealed to us. As the MMO aged, the classic content was ignored or altered to make it easier to attract new players to the game. After years of complaints, Blizzard Entertainment is bringing back Classic World of Warcraft and Community Manager Kaivax has detailed the 6 phase content patch release schedule. For example, progression in the MMO is based on newer raids superseding older content because more powerful items drop in the new raid. In the post, Blizzard details which raids will be available at the start of Classic WoW.

Currently, based on both your feedback and our own deliberations, we're now planning to increase it to six phases. Our focus is still primarily on player power-progression, but we're also aiming to capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW. To do that, we're planning to mirror the approach taken by original WoW, with patches paired together. We haven't yet determined exactly when phases 2-6 will occur, and PvP content is notably missing from the list above. That's because we're still evaluating our options regarding PvP rewards, as they also changed over time (both in power and in terms of which PvP reward items were available).

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 8:59 AM (CDT)

NVIDIA: RTX GPUs, High-Refresh-Rate Monitors Can Improve Your Kill-Death Ratio

If only to convince gamers to upgrade their GPUs and displays, NVIDIA has published new data supporting the obvious idea that better hardware improves player performance in Battle Royale titles such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. Essentially, players who can manage 144 fps score significantly higher than those limited to 60 fps: the company’s graphs suggest its RTX cards can increase K/D ratio by as much as 53%, while playing on 240 Hz and 144 Hz monitors can improve K/D ratio by 34% and 51%, respectively.

NVIDIA used more than a million sample points collected via anonymous GeForce Experience data, and then analyzed the data (which means no AMD cards). Specifically, NVIDIA is looking at player performance in two popular battle royale games: PUBG and Fortnite. How do you quantify player performance? NVIDIA looked at kill/death ratio and matched that up with number of hours played per week, then finally broke that down into graphics hardware and monitor refresh rate. NVIDIA limited its analysis to 1080p, which provides for the highest refresh rates and also serves to normalize things a bit.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 10:05 AM (CST)

Intel Might Become the World's Top Chipmaker Again

Many still think of Intel as the top semiconductor manufacturer in the world, but the chip giant actually lost the crown to Samsung back in 2017. The gap only widened in 2018, but, thanks to the cliff DRAM and flash prices are falling off of right now, IC Insights thinks that Chipzilla could reclaim the top spot in 2019. In an update to their 500 page report on the IC industry, the research firm believes that Samsung's total chip sales could fall from $78.5 billion in 2018 to $63.1 billion in 2019, while Intel's ~$70 billion in chip sales should remain relatively flat year to year.

With both the DRAM and NAND flash markets forecast to show big declines this year, IC Insights expects greater than 20% sales declines for the other top-10 ranked memory suppliers (SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba/Toshiba Memory) in 2019 as well. Similar to Samsung, the steep sales declines expected for SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba in 2019 are likely to lower these companies' revenue back to, or even below, what they were in 2017. This year will likely prove once again that the infamous volatile IC industry cycles are still very much alive and well in the memory market. The March Update will also examine the latest capital spending budgets of the major semiconductor companies for this year. With the memory suppliers expected to encounter a very difficult year in 2019, large capital spending cutbacks from these producers are likely to drag down worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending by at least 14% this year.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 08, 2019 8:36 AM (CST)

The Tech World Remembers Jerry Merryman Who Was an Inventor of the Calculator

Born June 17, 1932; Jerry Merryman was a brilliant inventor whom others could call upon for information on any subject. By age 11, Mr. Merryman was the Hearne, TX radio repairman. "'He'd scrap together a few cents to go to the movies in the afternoons and evenings and the police would come get him out ... because their radios would break and he had to fix them,' said Merryman's wife, Phyllis Merryman." He wasn't a braggart or boastful; even though he would work on projects at his home like a motorized telescope that automatically tracked the planets. Texas Instruments hired him and in 1965 his Nobel Prize winning boss, Jack Kilby, presented him with the idea for a calculator. In three days, Jerry Merryman did the entire circuit design for the device that his boss desired to be "as small as this little book that I have in my hand." The three man team had enough work completed to file for a patent in 1967, and revised the final patent in 1974. Merryman said in a 2013 NPR interview, "Silly me, I thought we were just making a calculator, but we were creating an electronic revolution." Mr. Merryman died Feb. 27 at a Dallas hospital from heart and kidney failure after experiencing complications during surgery to install a pacemaker. He was 86. The team's prototype is enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution. This 1997 photo shows Jack Kilby and Jerry Merryman, right, at the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

"I have a Ph.D. in material science and I've known hundreds of scientists, professors, Nobel prize-winners and so on. Jerry Merryman was the most brilliant man that I've ever met. Period. Absolutely, outstandingly brilliant," said Vernon Porter, a former TI colleague and friend. "He had an incredible memory and he had an ability to pull up formulas, information, on almost any subject."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 8:55 PM (CST)

Highlights of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 Presentation at Mobile World Conference

CNET has released a highlights video of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 presentation at the Mobile World Conference. The video shows some of the forward thinking solutions that Microsoft engineers have been working on for years to make working with holograms feel like interacting with objects in the real world.

Microsoft says the new and improved HoloLens 2 makes manipulating holograms feel like interacting with objects in the real world.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 7:51 PM (CST)

Nvidia Adds Metro Exodus to RTX Bundle

In an attempt to tempt those in the market for an new GPU, Nvidia just launched the "RTX Triple Threat" game bundle with what may be the best RTX-enabled game to date. Nvidia's previous "Game On Bundle" gave buyers Battlefield V and Anthem for free, but starting today, anyone who buys a RTX 2080 or 2080 TI will get Metro Exodus as well. RTX 2070 and 2060 buyers will get to pick 1 of the 3 games, but sadly, the recently released 1660 TI isn't part of this particular bundle.
Pre-built desktops and laptops are covered by the deal as well, and the terms and conditions mention that the deal will be good until at least April 4, 2019. Several games that previously advertised RTX support still haven't received patches to enable it, while others are coming closer to release, so I suspect Nvidia will offer bundles with a larger variety of RTX-enabled games later this year. But, as we've noted, Metro Exodus is one of the best examples of Nvidia's raytracing and DLSS technology to date, and the developers are improving it with every update. Update 3/6/2019: We previously reported that RTX 2070 and 2060 buyers get 2 out of the 3 games, but Nvidia's terms say they only get to pick a single game. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 05, 2019 12:49 PM (CST)