Archive for the ‘PC gaming’ Category

Final Fantasy 15 on PC: Has Square Enix lost its way, or do graphics really matter?

August 25th, 2017

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In a tech demo, which debuted at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in May, famed Japanese developer Square Enix recreated a cinema-quality, computer-generated character inside of a video game. Nyx Ulric, voiced by Aaron Paul in the CGI film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, had been previously been confined to the silver screen, where the complexity of producing of detailed computer graphics is offloaded to vast farms of computers one frame at a time (each taking hours to render), before 24 of them are pieced together to create a single second of film.

With top-of-line PC hardware from Nvidia (the server-grade Tesla V100, no less), Square Enix pulled character models and textures from the film, and displayed them in real-time using Luminous Studio Pro, the same engine that powers Final Fantasy XV on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and—with the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition in 2018—PC. Like any good tech demo, Kingsglaive is as impressive as it is impractical, featuring authentic modelling of hair, skin, leather, fur, and lighting that no PC or console on the market today can display (at least in 4K).

The Xbox One X, Microsoft’s “most powerful console in the world,” sports around six teraflops of processing power (FP32, for those technically inclined) to push graphics at 4K resolution—that’s four times the number of pixels as a typical HD television. The Kingsglaive tech demo requires over 12 teraflops of processing power, more than is found in Nvidia’s $1000/£1000 Titan Xp graphics card.

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Posted in AMD, Final Fantasy VII Remake, final fantasy XV, Gaming & Culture, NVIDIA, PC gaming, Square Enix | Comments (0)

Jurassic World Evolution is a theme park sim from Planet Coaster dev Frontier

August 20th, 2017

Frontier, the developer behind the sublime Elite Dangerous and Planet Coaster has new sim in the works. Jurassic World Evolution is a theme park sim, but instead of ferris wheels you have Triceratops, and instead of worrying about guests getting sick, you have to worry about guests getting eaten by a freaking T-Rex.

Jurassic World Evolution puts players in control of operations on the island of Isla Nublar, as featured in the original Jurassic Park. The goal is to build new attractions, bioengineer new dinosaur breeds, and figure out the best way to keep said dinosaurs away from paying punters. “Every choice leads to a different path and spectacular challenges will arise when ‘life finds a way,'” says Microsoft.

Further details are thin on the ground, but there is a release date of “Summer 2018,” which just so happens to be when the next film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is due to be released.

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Posted in console gaming, elite dangerous, frontier, Gaming & Culture, Jurassic World Evolution, PC gaming, planet coaster, Xbox One | Comments (0)

AMD Threadripper 1950X review: Better than Intel in almost every way

August 10th, 2017

Enlarge / With an orange and blue color scheme to boot…

If Ryzen was a polite, if firm way of telling the world that AMD is back in the processor game, then Threadripper is a foul-mouthed, middle-finger-waving, kick-in-the-crotch “screw you” aimed squarely at the usurious heart of Intel. It’s an olive branch to a part of the PC market stung by years of inflated prices, sluggish performance gains, and the feeling that, if you’re not interested in low-power laptops, Intel isn’t interested in you.

Where Intel charges $1,000/£1,000 for 10 cores and 20 threads in the form of the Core i9-7900X, AMD offers 16C/32T with Threadripper 1950X. Where Intel limits chipset features and PCIe lanes the further down the product stack you go—the latter being ever more important as storage moves away from the SATA interface—AMD offers quad-channel memory, eight DIMM slots, and 64 PCIe lanes even on the cheapest CPU for the platform.

Threadripper embraces the enthusiasts, the system builders, and the content creators that shout loud and complain often, but evangelise products like no other. It’s the new home for extravagant multi-GPU setups, and RAID arrays built on thousands of dollars worth of M.2 SSDs. It’s where performance records can be broken, and where content creators can shave precious minutes from laborious production tasks, while still having more than enough remaining horsepower to get their game on.

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Posted in AMD, Ars Approved, CPUs, Gadgetology, Gaming & Culture, Intel, PC gaming, pc hardware, Ryzen, Tech, Threadripper, X299, X399 | Comments (0)

The external graphics dream is real: Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box reviewed

August 3rd, 2017

Enlarge / The Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box and Sapphire RX 580. (credit: Mark Walton)

Specs at a glance: Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box
Power 350W Asaka AK-PS035AF01 SFX
Ports 1x PCIe 3.0 X16, 1x Thunderbolt 3.0
Size 18.5cm x 34.0cm x 20.2cm
Other perks 120mm Asaka Fan
Price $300 (~£300, but TBC)

The external graphics card (or eGFX), long the pipe dream of laptop-touting gamers the world over, has finally come of age. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3—which offers up to 40Gbps of bandwidth, the equivalent of four PCIe 3.0 lanes—consumers finally have access to enough bandwidth in a universal standard to make eGFX a viable option.

So the theory goes, you can now take most laptops with a Thunderbolt 3 port, plug in a box containing a power supply and your GPU of choice, and enjoy better visuals and higher frame rates in games, and faster rendering in production tasks. You can even whack a PCIe video capture card or a production-ready audio interface in that external box, if you so wish.

Thus far the limiting factor, aside from some potential performance bottlenecks and driver support, has been price. The Razer Core, as beautifully designed as it is, costs a whopping £500/$500 without a graphics card—and that’s if it’s even in stock. Meanwhile, the Asus ROG XG Station 2—which is most certainly not beautifully designed—costs £400/$400. When paired with a decent graphics card like an Nvidia GTX 1070 or an AMD RX 580, a full eGFX setup runs just shy of £900/$900, not including the price of a laptop to pair it with.

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Posted in AMD, eGFX, Features, Gadgetology, Gaming & Culture, GPU, Nvida, PC gaming, Tech | Comments (0)

RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56: AMD will “trade blows” with GTX 1080 for $499

July 31st, 2017

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RX Vega—AMD’s long awaited follow up to the two-year-old Fury and Fury X high-performance graphics cards—launches on August 14 in two core versions: the $499 Radeon RX Vega 64, and the $399 Radeon RX Vega 56 (UK prices TBC).

A limited edition version of RX Vega 64, which features a slick aluminium shroud, costs $599 as part of a bundle that includes discounts on a Freesync monitor, X370 motherboard, and free games. A watercooled version of RX Vega 64, dubbed Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition, also comes in a similar bundle pack priced at $699.

According to those in attendance at Siggraph, where AMD made its RX Vega announcements, much of the focus was on the value proposition of RX Vega bundles and features like Freesync, rather than all out performance. Anandtech has been told Vega 64 will “trade blows” with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080, which launched way back in May of 2016. The launch of Vega Frontier Edition (a production-focused graphics card) in June hinted at such levels of performance—RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 are based on the same Vega 10 GPU and architecture.

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Posted in AMD, Gaming & Culture, GPUs, graphics cards, NVIDIA, PC gaming, RX Vega, Tech, vega | Comments (0)