Posts Tagged ‘graphics’

EA’s Project Pica Pica leads new wave of photorealistic ray-tracing graphics demos at GDC 2018

Project Pica Pica

You love games. We love games. We love 2D games, 3D games, pixel games, life-like games, even slightly shonky-looking games. But what about if games looked, I don’t know, even better? Like, cinematic rendering, photorealistic kind of better? Well, Nvidia are on the case, as they’ve just announced their brand-new, not-at-all-incomprehensible “RTX Ray-Tracing” technology at GDC 2018.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti review: The best 1080p graphics card under £200

It’s been a pretty bleak couple of months for anyone hoping to buy a new graphics card, but there’s still a bit of good news to be found for those whose ambitions stop firmly at getting a great gaming experience at 1920×1080, as entry-level cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti on test here have been largely unaffected by recent price hikes.

Indeed, the GTX 1050Ti currently occupies the top spot in our Best graphics card 2018 article for 1080p gaming, and more importantly can still be found for as little as £150-odd in the UK and a fraction over $200 in the US. That’s almost half the cost of Nvidia’s next card up, the GTX 1060, which you can read more about in our Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review. It won’t be much good for anything beyond 1080p, but if Full HD gaming is your bag, then the GTX 1050 Ti is an excellent choice.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 review: Still the best 1440p graphics card in 2018?

For many PC gamers, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 is the next logical step up from the excellent GTX 970. While not as powerful as the beefy Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, it still offers significant gains over its lesser sibling, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, providing a smoother, more flexible gaming experience at both 1080p and 1440p alike, and even a teeny bit of 4K. The problem is, graphics card prices have currently sky-rocketed beyond all reasonable consideration at the moment, putting potential GTX 1070 buyers in a bit of a tough spot.

In fact, we wouldn’t recommend buying any mid-to-high-end graphics card at the moment until this crypto-mining business settles down again. You can read more about other options in our Best graphics card 2018 article, but provided you can actually find one in stock and don’t mind paying through the roof for it, then read on. After all, when Nvidia claims it can outperform its £1,000 Titan X mega beast, that’s reason enough to sit up and take notice.

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AMD Radeon RX 460 review: A bargain or just bad?

Multi-bazillion-transistor behemoths like Nvidia’s Titan or the AMD Radeon R9 Fury are all well and good, but it’s rare when you meet someone who actually bought one in the wild. ut the stats suggest hardly any of us actually buy them. Very few, if the latest Steam surveys are anything to do by, with not a single Titan showing up in the list. That said, even Nvidia’s mid-range GTX 1070 card is only used by 1.93% of Steam gamers these days, and that’s after a year on sale. Indeed, the second most popular GPU after Nvidia’s last-gen GTX 960 is its old budget board, the GTX 750Ti, proving that cheaper cards are still by and large the most popular choice among the majority of gamers.

AMD’s RX 460 is yet another attempt to capture that end of the market, but since we first looked at it a year ago, AMD’s gone and updated it with a slightly newer variant, the RX 560. You can still buy an RX 460 if you scout around – Scan still sell the 2GB version for around £100 – but it’s the RX 560 that should be your prime consideration. They’re both based on the same GPU, but the RX 560 has a slightly higher clock speed, giving it a small boost to performance. We haven’t looked at the RX 560 in detail just yet, but you can still get a pretty good idea about what to expect based on our following thoughts about the RX 460. Aspirational it ain’t, but could this entry-level board make for good-enough gaming graphics? There’s only one way to find out.

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Update: AMD’s new graphics and CPU awesomeness

AMDVega2

It’s all kicking off at AMD, peeps. The new Vega graphics chip is now more than merely a press release and has finally been released into the wild. Meanwhile, the insane ThreadRipper CPU with 16 cores and 32 threads has also landed. It’s all a far cry from just a few months ago when AMD was soldiering on with an elderly graphics product and a deadbeat CPU line up. Time to catch up with AMD’s latest hardware awesomeness. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Nvidia is overcharging us all off, just a bit

As I was saying, Intel’s CPU strategy has gone into meltdown. As a consequence, the cynicism of its approach in the face of weak competition – right up until AMD pulled its new Ryzen out of the proverbial – has been laid bare. But it’s not just Chipzilla that’s worthy of your scorn. For some time now, Nvidia has essentially been ripping us all off just a little bit. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

Intel’s 18-core CPU and, er, other exciting stuff

As I was saying, an 18-core CPU is obviously irrelevant for PC gaming. Actually, I was speaking then of AMD’s then-staggering 16-core Threadripper CPU. Two weeks later, Threadripper is already ancient news. It’s been comprehensively gazumped by a new 18-core CPU from Intel and suddenly the PC hardware landscape looks a little potty. I know I’ve been bleating for literally years about Intel’s sandbagging and how we needed AMD to spice things up. But this is a bit ridiculous. Be careful what you ask for… Read the rest of this entry »

AMD’s 16-core CPU and other exciting stuff

Yes, yes, a 16-core CPU is likely-going-on-definitely irrelevant for PC gaming. But it’s an exciting notion in simple technological terms and it represents something that certainly is important for gaming, namely that the PC as a platform has woken up again. Along with that mega-CPU from AMD, we also have the imminent prospect of new graphics card families from both AMD and Nvidia, new CPUs from Intel in response to AMD Ryzen assault, an intriguing new APU, again from AMD, that could just make for some nice cheapo laptops with genuine gaming chops and, well, plenty more. And the annual Computex tech shindig hasn’t even kicked off yet…

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Stop That, It’s Silly: Nvidia’s New Titan X Graphics Card

Sooner than anyone expected, Nvidia has rolled out its latest uber graphics card. It’s the new Titan X. It’s undoubtedly the fastest and bestest PC graphics board ever and probably by some margin. And it will cost you $1,200 and probably a similar post-VAT sterling figure back in the old, disintegrating empire. Call me a desiccated old cynic, but this is getting silly…

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AMD’s New $200/£175 VR-Friendly Gaming Graphics

It’s not quite the full disclosure I’ve been hoping for, but AMD semi-announced its new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card at the Computex trade show, t’other day. Yep, it’s that new Polaris graphics tech we’ve mentioned previously and as predicted the new board isn’t a mega money irrelevance, like Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080. It’s affordable and, among other things, claims to deliver 3D rendering performance for virtually reality headsets that’s comparable to $500 GPUs. VR for the masses, in other words. Sounds promising, but also strangely familiar… Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia’s New GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics

Hate to say I told you so. Or rather, I don’t and so I’m going to gloat. Contrary to numerous comment protestations, Nvidia’s 2016 graphics awesomeness has begun in the shape of its new GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 cards. Based on the new Pascal architecture and teensy 16nm transistors, the new GPUs are exactly as expected. And yet also quite different. Meanwhile, AMD has dropped some hints regards the shape of Radeons to come. It all adds up to an exciting summer for PC graphics and a very good reason to put your GPU purchases on temporary hold, especially if VR is your bag… Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Awesomeness: Nvidia’s New Pascal Graphics

If it was a car it would be a gold-wrapped, kleptocrat-owned Bugatti Veyron ostentatiously double parked outside a Knightsbridge hotel. It’s still bloated, it’s still overly complex and you still can’t afford it. But it’s a graphics chip and a harbinger of things you might actually be able to buy. I give you Nvidia’s new Pascal GP100, a 15.3 billion transistor beast and the beginnings of that 2016 awesomeness I promised for the new year. In other words, if you’re thinking of buying a new graphics card, you might want to hold fire. Meanwhile, Intel has also taken the wraps off a massive new chip you can’t afford and the final piece the Laird Gaming Dungeon™: Driver Edition has arrived. Yup, I’m liking 2016.

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Vulkan API: It’s Gaming, Jim, But Not As We Know It

One API to rule them all. Wrong fantasy franchise, perhaps, but that’s the idea behind Vulkan, the snazzy open-source successor to OpenGL, alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX and something that might shake up gaming on everything from PCs to phones. But what’s an API? And why should you care? We’ll come to that. For now, if Vulkan is everything it’s cracked up to be, it’ll make games run faster and look better on your existing PC. It might make that SteamOS thing a goer, too. Anyway, version 1.0 is out, so the chattering weberati will be casually trading Vulkan references to prove their PC gaming prowess. Time to bone up. Plus I’ve just sat through a five-hour keynote stream on Vulkan from GDC 2016. So humour me. This stuff is actually quite interesting.

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Is Your Feeble PC Ready For VR?

This is not virtual. This is reality. The two big beasts of the coming VR revolution are lumbering into view. It’s actually happening. By the end of April both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive VR headsets will be on sale. Things you can actually buy. Yes, yes, virtual reality has had several false starts. But this time, you can sense it. This time, it’s different. Well, probably. Oh, OK, nobody knows how big an impact VR is going to have in the next few years. But what I can do is help you to understand how much PC power you’re probably going need to get the most out of the new headsets.

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Why 2016 Will Be A Great Year For PC Gaming Hardware

2016 is going to be great for PC gaming hardware. Of that I am virtually certain. Last time around, I explained why the next 12 months in graphics chips will be cause for much rejoicing. That alone is big news when you consider graphics is arguably the single most important hardware item when it comes to progressing PC gaming. This week, I’ll tell you why the festivities will also apply to almost every other part of the PC, including CPUs, solid-state drives, screens and more. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a SATA cable in my eye, 2016 is looking up.
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2016 Will Be Great For Gamers: Part 1, Graphics

This year. Soon to be so last year

Four long, desolate years. Yup, it really was 1,460 sleeps ago, almost to the day, that the very first 28 nanometer graphics chip was launched, allowing card-makers to squeeze billions more transistors into their GPUs – meaning better performance for theoretically lower costs as a result. But here we are and 28nm is still as good as it gets for PC graphics. That’s a bummer, because it has meant AMD and Nvidia have struggled to improve graphics performance without adding a load of cost. It’s just one reason why 2015 has kind of sucked for PC gaming hardware. But do not despair. 2016 is going to be different.

In fact, it’s not just graphics that’s getting a long overdue proverbial to the nether regions. Next year is almost definitely going to be the best year for PC gaming hardware, full stop, for a very long time. So strap in for what is merely part one of my guide to the awesomeness that will be 2016.
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Nvidia GTX 950: The Cheap GPU We Were Waiting For?

Monster GPUs, 4K screens, zillions of pixels pumped per picosecond. These things are exciting. But are they relevant to most of us? When a top graphics card costs over £500 and arguably has an optimal working life of about 18 months to two years, I’m not so sure. Either way, most of us simply don’t buy that kind of clobber. Instead we buy things like the Nvidia’s new budget offering, the £120 / $160 GeForce GTX 950. And we buy them because, well, they’re actually affordable. But what exactly is life like at the more prosaic end of the pixel-pumping spectrum? To find out, I’ve been slumming it with the new 950. This is what I have discovered.
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Photorealism Is Crucial To Games

Global illumination.
Volumetric clouds.
Sub-surface scattering.

These are words that make me hot.

But I know this feeling is forbidden. I should care about games, not the empty pursuit of photorealism. But oh my, it’s so exciting, and not empty. In fact, I think that right now photorealism is becoming crucial to games, and that we should celebrate it.

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3D Card Update: AMD Fury, How Much Graphics Memory Is Enough, Nvidia’s New Budget Graphics

It’s time to catch up with the latest graphics kit and developments as fully unified shader architectures wait for no man. Nvidia has just released a new value-orientated 3D card in the GeForce GTX 950. We’re talking roughly £120 / $160 and so entry-level for serious gaming. But could you actually live with it?

Meanwhile, AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 Fury graphics has landed at Laird towers. Apart from being geek-out worthy simply as the latest and greatest from one of the two big noises in gaming graphics, the Fury’s weird, wonderful and maybe just a little wonky 4GB ‘HBM’ memory subsystem begs a potentially critical conundrum. Just how much memory do you actually need for gaming graphics?
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How To Keep Your PC Cool

Lordy, it’s hot. Well, hot if you’re British. Call it seasonable by sticky Manhattan standards or a bracing Spring cold snap for Aussies. But it’s over 90 in old money and the nation’s infrastructure is melting. Well, my kitchen PC has just fallen over again with a CPU thermal trip. So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s chaos out there. Which reminds me. We’ve never really discussed how to keep your PC cool. Given gaming is probably the only thing most of us do that loads up both CPU and graphics, this is an oversight. So here are my top eight tips for keeping your PC cool. Most of them won’t cost you a a penny and they could well help your games run faster.
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