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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)

Real-Time Ray Tracing Support Comes to GeForce GTX GPUs and Game Engines

NVIDIA has announced that real-time ray tracing support is coming to GeForce GTX GPUs. This driver is scheduled to launch in April. GeForce GTX GPUs will execute ray traced effects on shader cores and support is extended to both Microsoft DXR and Vulkan APIs. NVIDIA reminds consumers that its GeForce RTX lineup of cards has dedicated ray tracing cores built directly into the GPU which deliver the ultimate ray tracing experience. GeForce RTX GPUs provide up to 2-3x faster ray tracing performance with a more visually immersive gaming environment than GPUs without dedicated ray tracing cores. NVIDIA GameWorks RTX is a comprehensive set of tools and rendering techniques that help game developers add ray tracing to games. Unreal Engine and Unity have announced that integrated real-time ray tracing support is being built into their engines.

Real-time ray tracing support from other first-party AAA game engines includes DICE/EA's Frostbite Engine, Remedy Entertainment's Northlight Engine and engines from Crystal Dynamics, Kingsoft, Netease and others. Quake II RTX -- uses ray tracing for all of the lighting in the game in a unified lighting algorithm called path tracing. The classic Quake II game was modified in the open source community to support ray tracing and NVIDIA's engineering team further enhanced it with improved graphics and physics. Quake II RTX is the first ray-traced game using NVIDIA VKRay, a Vulkan extension that allows any developer using Vulkan to add ray-traced effects to their games.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 10:09 PM (CDT)

Toyota Has a Curious Justification for Not Selling Any EVs

Toyota is one the biggest automakers, but it doesn’t sell a single fully electric vehicle in the United States. Why is that? According to vice president of research and development for Europe Gerald Killmann, it has all to do with battery production -- or the lack thereof. Toyota’s manageable supply can only allow for either 28,000 EVs or 1.5 million hybrid cars, and they’ve chosen the latter for being the more environmentally sound choice. Critics say the automaker is making excuses for terrible business decisions that have forced it to the back of the EV race.

...the calculation seems to assume that for every hybrid sold, a fully gasoline-powered car would be taken off the road. In reality, many Toyota hybrid buyers are replacing a Toyota hybrid. And, based on Toyota’s own revelation that they are losing Prius drivers to Tesla, it stands to reason that many Toyota hybrid drivers would jump at the opportunity to transition to an all-electric Toyota. Ultimately, Toyota's strategic decision to invest in gasoline-electric hybrids and bet on fuel cells in the long term is the reason that it isn't currently producing any electric cars.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 3:45 PM (CDT)

Crytek Demos Real-Time Ray Traced Reflections Running on an AMD Vega 56

Crytek has released a new video demonstrating the results of a CRYENGINE research and development project called Neon Noir. Neon Noir is based on an advanced version of CRYENGINE's Total Illumination showcasing real-time ray tracing. The demo shown below is running on an AMD Vega 56 and demonstrates how real-time mesh ray-traced reflections and refractions can deliver highly realistic visuals for games. This feature is expected to be available to developers using CRYENGINE in 2019. The demo was created on a bespoke version of CRYENGINE 5.5 and the experimental ray tracing feature is both API and hardware agnostic. This means that it will run on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. Crytek will optimize the technology to benefit both the current generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12. Thanks @Gideon !

Neon Noir follows the journey of a police drone investigating a crime scene. As the drone descends into the streets of a futuristic city, illuminated by neon lights, we see its reflection accurately displayed in the windows it passes by, or scattered across the shards of a broken mirror while it emits a red and blue lighting routine that will bounce off the different surfaces utilizing CRYENGINE's advanced Total Illumination feature. Demonstrating further how ray tracing can deliver a lifelike environment, neon lights are reflected in the puddles below them, street lights flicker on wet surfaces, and windows reflect the scene opposite them accurately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 4:32 PM (CDT)

Win Some, Lose Some in Qualcomm vs Apple Saga

A jury in federal court in San Diego awarded Qualcomm $31 million in a patent infringement case against Apple. Qualcomm requested damages amounting to $1.41 per iPhone. The three patents that Apple allegedly violated were related to battery life in mobile phones. In another case, a U.S. federal judge issued a preliminary ruling favoring Apple related to patent royalty rebate payments. Factories that build Apple iPhones paid Qualcomm billions of dollars to use Qualcomm's technology. Apple agreed to reimburse the factories. "Qualcomm and Apple had a cooperation agreement under which Qualcomm would pay Apple a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack in court or with regulators." Apple filed a lawsuit after it says Qualcomm refused to issue $1 billion in patent royalty rebates. Qualcomm alleged that "Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission." Apple said it was just responding to regulators.

The decision will not become final until after the trial in the case, which begins next month. And it is unlikely that Qualcomm will make a new payment to Apple. Apple's contract factories, which under normal circumstances would pay Qualcomm for patent royalties owed on iPhones, have already withheld the nearly $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. "Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm," Qualcomm's Rosenberg told Reuters.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 3:32 PM (CDT)

The Latest Battlefield V: Firestorm Reveal Trailer Details Battle Royale Mode

Electronic Arts has released the Battlefield V: Firestorm reveal trailer that details the game's new 64-player Battle Royale mode. It will feature a ring of fire that slowly creeps in to shrink the map, squad revives, artillery strikes, combat vehicles, high-reward objectives that offer the best loot, and the signature Battlefield V weapons and gun mechanics. The Battle Royale mode will be available to all Battlefield V players on March 25. Battlefield V is currently 50% off on Origin.

Firestorm is Battle Royale, Reimagined for Battlefield. Dominate on the largest Battlefield map ever with epic weapons and combat vehicles as a deadly ring of fire closes in. Scavenge, fight and survive to become the last squad standing. The fury of Firestorm will grow after launch, with new features and improvements coming to all Battlefield V players, including an initial introduction of a Duos mode in April as part of Chapter 3: Trial by Fire.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 11:10 AM (CDT)

Potential Navi Benchmark: Better Graphics, Lower Compute Performance than Vega 64

An unknown AMD GPU (66AF:F1) has appeared on CompuBench, and some believe it could be a Navi part. GFXBench scores allude to a card that exceeds the Radeon RX Vega 64 in graphics capability but falls behind in certain compute tests, even against the Vega 56. Notebook Check advises this could actually be a Vega 20 GPU ("we've seen Linux drivers listing 0x66AF as Vega 20").

A comparison of the GFXBench scores of the AMD 66AF:F1 with the Radeon RX Vega 64 shows that the purported Navi variant leads significantly in the Aztec Ruins Normal Tier (1080p) and High Tier tests 1440p). This could imply that GCN6 in Navi is tailored more towards raw graphics than compute. We aren't exactly sure about the specs of this particular entry but expect to see variants with anywhere between 20 to 40 higher clocked CUs when Navi launches.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 1:25 PM (CDT)

Windows 10 Update Can Degrade Graphics, Mouse Performance in Certain Games

Microsoft has alerted gamers that a recent Windows 10 update (KB4482887) can have adverse effects on some titles: "After installing KB4482887, users may notice graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games (eg: Destiny 2)." The company is still working on an official fix, but those who need an immediate solution may merely uninstall the update.

On March 1st, Microsoft released a brand-new update for Windows 10 that brought a number of quality improvements. However, and after various reports, Microsoft has confirmed that this latest update can degrade graphics and mouse performance in certain games (like for example Destiny 2). Microsoft has not explained/detailed the reasons behind this performance degradation. Moreover, this issue may not affect everyone therefore we strongly suggest uninstalling this update only if you are experiencing worse performance in your favorite games after applying it.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 4:00 PM (CST)

MSI Gaming Monitor Stops a Stray Bullet (and Still Works)

PC gamer Eric Gan had five gunshots fired into his room Monday, one of which managed to hit the back of his monitor, an MSI Optix G27C2. Even if he were gaming at the time, he’d still be alive thanks to the display, which blocked the bullet from getting any further into the room. Incredibly, the monitor still works, but MSI is sending him a replacement anyway.

Of course, the bullet had already lost a significant amount of kinetic energy from penetrating through the wall before hitting the monitor. Had that not been the case, we expect the monitor would be in much worse shape. Either way, we're glad that Gan and his neighbors were unharmed in the incident.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 10:50 AM (CST)

Denuvo Performance Hit in Devil May Cry 5 Tested

Capcom accidentally left a developer branch of Devil May Cry 5 public that didn't have Denuvo copy protection added to the files. A Steam user created a guide for downloading the file, but Capcom took the file down. Digital Foundry has tested the file to see the performance difference between Denuvo on and off. They experienced a 7% difference in performance between the builds, but only at low resolutions. Devil May Cry 5 is fairly light on CPU usage according to Richard Leadbetter. I included images showing the performance difference from the Steam user that created the guide. Left is with Denuvo enabled and right is without Denuvo.

Assuming that the only difference between the two builds is indeed the inclusion of Denuvo, or the lack of it, the evidence looks conclusive. On the one hand, modern gaming PCs should have the CPU overhead to run the extra load incurred by what our tests suggests to be the Denuvo DRM. However, on the other hand, the notion of any DRM system incurring a seven per cent in-game hit to performance on a processor as capable as the Core i5 8400 (which runs six cores at a peak 3.8GHz) is certainly concerning. We've approached Capcom for comment and will update with any further information.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 08, 2019 4:35 PM (CST)

Battlefield V Battle Royale Footage Leaks Online

We haven't heard much about Battlefield V's "Firestorm" battle royale mode, but footage of the new mode has allegedly leaked online. The leak comes straight from EA's own website, and appears to be a tutorial for the game's mechanics. At the time of this writing, the video was still up, but I took the liberty of grabbing it, cleaning it up, and re-uploading it to YouTube just in case EA takes the original video down:
Among other things, the video suggests there will be solo, duo, and squad modes, and players will supposedly start the game by dropping in from the sky, just like other major battle royale titles. Weapons will come in 3 different "rarity" tiers, and ammo will be shareable among your squadmates. The narrator calls firestorm an "even playing field," and mentions that there will be no class-specific benefits. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 08, 2019 2:58 PM (CST)

AlphaCool Eisblock for 2080 Ti Startup

We show you the AlphaCool Eisblock for RTX 2080 Ti and just how the coolant flows through the block. If you have a 4K display, you will want to go full screen with this short clip. This is the GPX-N Plexi M01 model. It is on sale at Amazon for $172, complete with Frag Harder Disco Lights! You can see our preliminary coverage here.

All coolers are based on an identical copper heat sink, which is completely nickel-plated. The surface area where the water flows is very large, so that all components that give off heat are actively cooled with water which increases performance. The 35 fins of the cooler are only 0.6 mm thick and cover even large GPUs completely. The large cooling surface is also ideal for graphics cards with HBM memory.

Discussion
Posted by Kyle March 05, 2019 3:03 PM (CST)