What is the importance of your graphics cards

Graphic cards may be small in size but their capabilities and importance in your computer system is not reflective of that fact. In order to get best possible images right on to your monitor you will need graphic cards. These cards can be located on the motherboard and will serve most of your basic purposes. However if you are crazy about gaming or want to download works of animation, gaming, heavy pictures or 3D pictures then you might have to upgrade to a high-end graphic card for your computer.

Graphic cards can easily be added to processors, monitors and motherboard of your computer. The quality of images that get displayed on to your monitor largely depends on the capability of your graphic card. And these graphic cards work closely with the processors of your computer to arrive at desired results. So if you are contemplating buying a brand new graphic card, make sure that it is compatible with the processor that is already present in your computer system.

Most of us enjoy working and viewing top quality movies, animations, games and graphics on our high-end monitors. And, guess what? This is largely made possible due to the effort put in by our graphic cards. These devices are small, no doubt, but their efficiency has to be seen to believe completely. They are truly wonder components that every one need to posses. Thankfully, most of these graphic cards are readily available in the market and at affordable prices. Even high-end graphic cards from reputed manufacturers are available readily these days.

Before purchasing any type of graphic cards you first need to find out what exactly you are expecting from it and from your computer. If gaming is your sole mission then you would surely love to have graphic cards of higher range to compliment your high speed computer. You can impart a new dimension to your gaming experience through a compatible high-end graphic card. So, as a first step, you need to check the bit rates and clock speed of your PC and then choose an appropriate card. Even if your card is one of the best in market in terms of quality of images it offers, it might still fail to deliver if your computer is too slow!

Graphic cards have indeed become an integral part of our computer systems. Rapid progress in areas like presentation tools, creation of charts, graphics, videos and others are largely due to the contribution from these cards. By now, you would have had an idea of how graphic cards play a role in offering you with best of application videos, software’s, graphical user interface, pictures and many more. While graphic cards can easily be attached to the motherboard of your desktop, it comes integrated in the notebooks and laptops during the time of their manufacture. Before purchasing the graphic card, make sure you check the speed of the processor and also ensure that the CPU operates at your desired level. Only then your money spent on graphic card will be worth it.

NVIDIA Rumored To Launch Pascal GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Graphics Card

So NVIDIA GeForce has been a silent bunch since the launch of the highly successful GeForce GTX 1080 Ti but rumor is that a new card may possible be in the works. Posted over at Chinese sources and caught by Videocardz, this new card is rumored to be known as the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti.

NVIDIA Rumored To Launch a Pascal Based GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Graphics Card With 8 GB G5 Memory

First of all, I would like to state that there’s no official confirmation of any sorts regarding this SKU so all of the details are rumors at best. The details allege that NVIDIA is working on what is to be a brand new Pascal graphics card. The card will be known as the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and feature a Pascal GP104 silicon.

Technically, this card will be similar to the GP104 based GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. The differences will lie in the configuration of the chip itself. It is stated that the GTX 1070 Ti will come with 2304 CUDA Cores and 8 GB of GDDR5 memory along a 256-bit bus interface. Now this looks to be an interesting graphics card as it will be sandwiched in between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080.

To be honest, that gap isn’t too huge to begin with. Also worth noting is that the GeForce GTX 1080 is retailing for $499 US while the GTX 1070 has an official MSRP of $349 US. The only price point I can think in between them is $399-$449. The former is too close to a GTX 1070 while the latter is close to a GTX 1080. And let’s just not talk about the GTX 1070 custom models which fall in the same price segment.

So maybe we are looking at a price drop on the GTX 1070 to around $299 US and a sudden intro of the GTX 1070 Ti after that. I know it sounds really weird but the only reason this rumor was worth a post was due to a picture a guy took with his mobile showing what seems to be ASUS’s GTX 1070 Ti STRIX OC (8 GB) model. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be confirmed but we will have a word with our sources if they have more details on the card. And no, Volta isn’t coming this year.



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The best Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards

Since its launch in March 2017, the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti has proved to be one of the best graphics cards ever made for enthusiast gamers – it even earned one of our coveted Best in Class awards. 

With a huge 11GB of GDDR5X memory, 3,584 CUDA cores and a memory clock of 5,505MHz, it remains one of the most powerful GPUs around.

As is usual with GPUs, a number of manufacturers have made their own versions based on Nvidia’s hardware. These often boast additional features, custom designs and improved clock speeds that make small, yet important, differences to the performance of the cards.

So, if you’re serious about fitting out your gaming PC with the best graphics card you can currently buy, read on for our list of the best Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in 2017.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Base clock: 1569 MHz | Turbo clock: 1683 MHz | Memory clock: 11010 MHz | Dimensions: 29.8 x 13.4 x5.25cm | Additional features : OC Mode, Patented Wing-Blade Fan Design with IP5X dust-resistance, ASUS FanConnect II, GPU Tweak II, ASUS Aura Sync

Keeps cool

Looks fantastic

Software can be a bit fiddly

If you’re sticking a powerful graphics card in your PC, then you’ll likely want to shout about it, and the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the perfect choice for people who want to pimp out and show off their rigs thanks to the Aura RGB LED lighting system.

It’s not all about the looks, however, as the Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti also features a design that keeps the GPU cool even when overclocked, while a dust-resistant fan is another nice bonus.

Overall, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX is an excellent package, and the best overall version of the GTX 1080 Ti.

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 TI FTW3 iCX Hydro Copper

Base clock: 1569 MHz | Turbo clock: 1683 MHz | Memory clock: 11010 MHz | Dimensions: 28.88 x 16.35 cm | Additional features : Hydro Copper waterblock, thermal sensors, EVGA Precision XOC software, adjustable RGB LED

Built-in water cooling

Sleek looks

Waterblock means it can be tricky to install in small cases

Using water cooling to keep your graphics card chilled, and quiet while in use, is very effective – but it’s also risky and complicated. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 TI FTW3 iCX Hydro Copper makes things easier, as it comes with the waterblock already installed onto the GPU, so you don’t have to remove and replace any fans. You can then hook it up to an existing cooling solution, or use a pre-built setup. The added complexity and price of the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 TI FTW3 iCX Hydro Copper makes it suitable for only the most accomplished gamers; however, if you want the ultimate in water-cooled power, it’s a fantastic choice.

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X

Base clock: 1569 MHz | Turbo clock: 1683 MHz | Memory clock: 11124 MHz | Dimensions: 29 x 14 x 5.1 cm | Additional features : Zero Frozr technology, Air Flow control, LED control, heat pipes

Very quiet when not under load

OC mode not much of a boost over other 1080 Ti cards

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X 11G is another GTX 1080 Ti variant that delivers impressive power while running as cool and quiet as possible. To keep it cool, the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X 11G utilises carefully-designed heat pipes that maximise heat transfer, and a lot of thought has gone into the design of the fans, with a steeper curved blade that helps accelerate airflow. It also features MSI’s Zero Frozr technology, which turns off fans when the card isn’t being used under heavy loads. By only using the fans when they’re needed, the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X 11G runs very quiet – although you pay a bit of a price when it comes to graphical grunt, as this card doesn’t run quite as fast as some of the other GTX 1080 Ti cards on this list.

Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition

Base clock: 1746 MHz | Turbo clock: 1632 MHz | Memory clock: 11448 MHz | Dimensions: 29.3 x 14.2 x 5.5 cm | Additional features : Windforce cooling system, copper back plate cooling, RGB Rusion lighting, Aorus VR Link

Clever VR feature

Good cooling

Redundant VR Link if you have no interest in virtual reality

Thanks to its power, the GTX 1080 Ti in any form is an excellent graphics card when it comes to virtual reality. However, for VR fans, the Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition is the best choice, as it comes with a handy additional front-facing HDMI port that allows you to easily plug in a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift without having to crawl around the back of your PC, while having plenty of ports to display additional footage to connected monitors. It also has some impressive cooling features, including a copper back plate, and the ‘Windforce stack’, which stacks three 100mm fans to help with heat dissipation. This is also one of the fastest 1080 Ti cards in our list.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini

The world’s smallest 1080 Ti

Base clock: 1506 MHz | Turbo clock: 1620 MHz | Memory clock: 11010 MHz | Dimensions: 21.1 x 12.5 x 4.1 cm | Additional features : Smallest 1080 Ti, fits mini-ITX chassis, Icestorm cooling, Firestorm software

Small form factor

Same power as bigger 180 Ti cards

Runs hotter than other cards

Louder, too

If you’re looking to build a compact and discrete PC for your living room that will blow traditional games consoles like the Xbox One and PS4 out of the water,  there really is no other choice if you want to harness the power of the 1080 Ti. The Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini is around two inches shorter than many of the other 1080 Ti cards on this list, yet it doesn’t compromise on performance. This means it’s easier to fit the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini into small form factor PC cases. However, there have been some compromises made to create such a small GPU. Specifically, because of the small size, Zotac hasn’t employed as advanced cooling solutions as on other GPUs, so the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini runs hotter than other cards. Because of this the fans will kick in more often, and as they’re smaller they produce more noise. Still, if size and power are all that matter, the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini is an excellent choice.

NVIDIA morphs from graphics and gaming to AI and deep learning

Maybe you’ve heard of the x86 central processing unit (CPU) architecture that powers most PCs and servers today. But once upon a time in PC land, Intel made a bundle of cash selling x87 math co-processor chips to accompany the x86 products. These chips excelled at, and accelerated, floating point math operations and helped make PCs much faster at performing certain tasks that were hot and relevant back then, like recalculating spreadsheets.

387, redux
But spreadsheets are old hat now, and math co-processor functionality eventually got integrated into the CPU itself, forcing the math x87 line to dry up. But Artificial Intelligence (AI) has, in a way, brought math co-processors back in vogue, by utilizing graphics processing units (GPUs) in a similar supporting role. As it turns out, the kind of mathematical capabilities required to render high-resolution, high frame-rate graphics are also directly applicable to AI.

Specifically, the work required to train predictive machine learning models, especially those based on neural networks and so-called deep learning, involves analyzing large volumes of data, looking for patterns and building statistically-based heuristics. The more training data used, the more accurate the predictive models become. GPUs are great for this type of work, despite the fact that it’s not really about graphics or video.

That’s why NVIDIA, a company originally focused on GPUs and chipsets for video adapter cards and game consoles is rapidly morphing into an AI company.

Health AI
For example, NVIDIA is now working with the Center for Clinical Data Science (CCDS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to employ AI in the service of assisting radiologists in reading and interpreting x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and the like. The company’s DGX systems, based on its Volta AI architecture, are being used by CCDS radiologists to speed up the process of analyzing medical imagery and finding abnormalities and patterns in them.

CCDS just took delivery of the world’s first NVIDIA DGX-1 supercomputer in December of last year and has already successfully trained machine learning models to do work not only in the sphere of radiology but also in cardiology, ophthalmology, dermatology and psychiatry. CCDS will soon be using a DGX Station — an AI-specialized desktop workstation — for medical AI work as well.

Meanwhile, back at the plant

uav-inspecting-transmission-line.jpg

UAV (drone)-based industrial inspection


Credit: NVIDIA

NVIDIA’s DGX technology is being deployed not just in medicine, but in a variety of industrial contexts. For example, the company has teamed with Avitas Systems, a venture backed by General Electric, in the service of drone-assisted industrial inspection. This work involves the physical inspection of industrial infrastructure, including flare stacks and heated gas plumes.

Drones can perform inspections in conditions that would be lethal to humans; NVIDIA explains that flare stacks must be shut down for days before they become cool enough for a human inspector to approach. Such multi-day shut downs involve huge production costs and drone-based inspection saves on those costs.

Evergreen
But drone-based inspection requires real-time intelligent guidance based on readings picked up by the drones’ sensors (including temperatures encountered and what the drone “sees”). That intelligent guidance is only made possible possible by AI, and that’s where the DGX technology comes in. Interestingly, because of all this real-time processing and given the super-human nature of the work, there’s an element to drone inspection that parallels gaming. That’s a pretty cool connection of old and new.

Here’s another one: Because Avitas Systems is a GE venture, it uses GE Predix, which is a predictive analytics platform that integrates with GE Historian. I’ve written about GE historian technology before, but I did so more than five years ago, when its applications were mostly limited to preventive maintenance. That Predix can now support downstream drone-based inspection shows how useful AI is in its industrial applications…and how much value it’s adding to the more rote data collection that has been in place for quite some time.

Detour or destination?
So NVIDIA, a graphics- and video-focused company founded nearly 25 years ago, is reinventing itself as an AI company in the present tense. That’s a great way to stay relevant, but is it orthogonal? After some pondering, I’ve decided it’s not. Not only is math co-processing common to both disciplines in terms of underlying technology, but both offer future-facing technology that can be aimed at rendering immersive experiences and simulations.

Plus, NVIDIA has corroboration from its competitors in making this pivot. AMD’s in the game too with its Radeon Instinct product, and Intel’s Xeon Phi processors are relevant to machine learning and AI as well. Data, analytics and AI are providing the momentum for almost everything in the computing world. Why shouldn’t the semiconductor companies, who are critical to computing’s infrastructure, align with that trend? It’s just common sense.

Bitcoin Boosts Nvidia, AMD Graphics Card Sales

Makers of the world’s most advanced graphics cards — the hardware that lets gamers experience photorealistic action and immersive virtual reality — have had a hell of a year. In August, market leader Nvidia announced a 56% rise in year-over-year revenue. Competitor AMD’s revenue saw an 18% rise over the same period.

But neither company has been eager to crow about what’s driving all that growth, and investors haven’t exactly been overjoyed about it.

Why? The answer is one word long: Bitcoin.

Actually, it’s a little longer than that. Graphics cards (also known as GPUs) were once used to ‘mine’ Bitcoin, or solve the cryptographic riddles that effectively secure billions of dollars worth of virtual currency in exchange for digital cash. That’s no longer true, with Bitcoin now mostly mined using a more specialized chipset known as an ASIC — and on an increasingly industrial scale.

Related

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But, as Bitcoin’s price has skyrocketed this year, dozens of lesser-known cryptocurrencies have also become more and more valuable. And those blockchains – including Litecoin, Monero, and, especially, Ethereum – can still be profitably mined by part-timers using off-the-shelf graphics cards. In locales with cheap electricity, a single card can generate roughly a hundred dollars in profits per month.

That has led to huge demand for graphics cards. Nvidia said it made around $150 million last quarter off miners. Analysts speaking to CoinDesk estimated that a sizable proportion of AMD’s revenue is also now coming from miners.

On the consumer side, prices for graphics cards have surged, frustrating consumers who want to use them as intended – for playing games.

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But investors haven’t been eager to pile into the stocks, precisely because of their dependence on cryptocurrency. Despite the rising value of Bitcoin and others, the space is still very speculative, with actual working applications for blockchain tech relatively rare.

To put the risk in perspective, CoinDesk looked back to 2013, when the bottom dropped out of Bitcoin’s price. Miners, still using GPUs at the time, quickly dumped their hardware on eBay. AMD’s sales slumped drastically in the following year, before slowly recovering in 2015.

Though the cryptocurrency ecosystem is much more robust today than it was in 2013, the bubble could certainly pop again, making mining unprofitable and putting chipmakers against a wall. An even clearer mid-term risk is that Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency, is trying to move away from hardware-dependent security.

But there’s potential upside, too. If and when cryptocurrency becomes truly widely adopted, AMD and Nvidia may have lucked into a large new market. The potential is suggested by a thriving traffic in guides and tools to help new would-be miners set up rigs in their bedrooms, calculate their potential profits, and manage their digital assets.

When exactly to fully embrace that market, at the risk of appearing too bubble-dependent, will be a tricky question for GPU makers.

Nvidia GeForce MX150: New dedicated laptop graphics explained

Nvidia GeForce MX150 – Laptop graphics explained

A whole host of new laptops have been launched at the IFA 2017 trade show in Berlin, and many of them come equipped with Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics. What is it, how powerful is it and should you care? We take a look.

Nvidia GeForce MX150 – Gaming performance

For many laptop buyers who like gaming, the promise of dedicated or discrete graphics is like a red flag to a bull: it means extra performance in the latest 3D games. The MX150 is a replacement to the GeForce 940MX that has appeared in loads of laptops over the last couple of years. MX150 was first announced in May, but it’s taken until the end of August 2017 to start appearing in laptops we can buy.

It’s also a replacement for any Intel HD (now called UHD) graphics hardware that comes baked into your laptop’s processor. Intel graphics have never been known for their gaming performance, so it’s easy to dismiss nearly every laptop without a discrete GPU as something to avoid.

Related: Best gaming laptops

So far, we’ve not had an MX150 laptop in to test, but Nvidia has provided some its own figures to give you a rough idea of what performance to expect. First and foremost, the MX150 is not a high-end GPU. Nvidia’s marketing material on the MX150 only makes mention of playing eSports games such as Dota 2, CS:GO, LoL and World of Tanks at Full HD resolution at 60fps. The company doesn’t make any claims about what graphical settings you’ll be running, although this point is fairly moot as we’d recommend you let Nvidia GeForce Experience software take over and do the heavy lifting to decide what graphics settings you should be running at.

So, eSports only, then? Maybe, but we can use some other data to see how more advanced games will run.

In our recent review of the HP Spectre x360 15, we ran some benchmarks on the included 940MX GPU. There we saw performance of 50fps in Dirty Rally at Full HD, Medium settings, and 30fps in Shadow of Mordor at Full HD. Nvidia claims the MX150 is 25% more powerful than the 940MX (and 4x more powerful than last-generation Intel HD Graphics 520), so from that we can take away that while this GPU isn’t designed for the latest AAA games, it can technically run them if you dial down graphics settings and/or resolution. Again, if the game is supported by GeForce Experience, Nvidia should automatically be able to set your game up for the best performance/eye-candy compromise.

Nvidia marketing material

The thing you should take into account here is that this GPU will often be found in laptops with relatively low-power 7th- and 8th-generation Intel Core CPUs. These chips will often be a bit of a bottleneck for your games – some more advanced titles such as Battlefield 1 – struggle without a properly beefy processor, no matter how good your GPU is.

Video and photo editing

The MX150 is a dab hand at photo editing in Adobe products, according to Nvidia. The company reckons you’ll be able to crop and remaster photos up to 2.5x faster than bog-standard Intel HD Graphics, and up to 4x faster colour remastering when working with video content.

Nvidia marketing material

Should I buy a GeForce MX150 laptop?

Until we’ve tested one for sure we can’t give a definitive verdict, but we can offer some general advice. GeForce MX150 will probably find itself in thinner and lighter laptops than the full-desktop-style GPUs such as GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti. If you’re really after a gaming laptop, consider a thicker and heavier machine. If you want thin and light and want to play older or eSports titles, these new MX150 should fit the bill. Check back here when we have more on the MX150’s benchmark results.

Final Fantasy XIV Interview — Stormblood’s Success, Romance, Graphics Upgrades and More

The dust has settled since the release of Final Fantasy XIV‘s latest expansion Stormblood, and it’s time to reconnect with Director Naoki Yoshida and hear directly from the Lion’s mouth how things are going at Square Enix.

Alongside Yoshida-san, we also had a chat at Gamescom with Main Scenario Writer Natsuko Ishikawa, who is certainly a major contributor to the quality of the expansion, considering that one of the major selling point was the great story.

Giuseppe: Stormblood appears to have been received very well, and we recently heard that the game achieved record highs subscribers after the release of the expansion. How do you feel about the results of the release? Is there something specific that players shout “Yoshidaaaaa!” about? 

Naoki Yoshida: Like with Heavensward, we were on a tight development schedule for Stormblood, and we never really had the time to stop and reflect leading to the launch. It was received very well, better than we expected. It’s regarded very highly, with a great reception. Of course it was surprising, but at the same time, it made us very happy.

On top of the reception being very positive, we also see returning players bringing in new players, adding to the amount of “Warriors of Light” that are playing Final Fantasy XIV. There were some areas in which people complained in terms of job balance, and some players felt that it was a little off, but this has been addressed through our minor patches leading up to 4.06. I think things have settled down at this point.

Natsuko Ishikawa: With the Stormblood story, it shifts to different regions within Eorzea, and different parts of the world. We were kind of worried how in the real world each country would reach to the different settings, but it seems everybody love the story, and it was received positively. Of course I’m happy about it, but at the same time, I’m pleasantly surprised as well.

Final Fantasy XIV Interview -- Stormblood's Success, Romance, Graphics Upgrades and More

Warning: The following question and answer might be considered a mild spoiler if you have not played Stormblood‘s main story quest yet.

G:  For the first time in the Final Fantasy XIV story there appears to be an element of romance between the player character and Lyse. It is very subtle, and I believe that it could be interpreted both as love or as a strong friendship. Is this a correct interpretation, and was it intended for players to be able to interpret the relationship romantically, if they so wanted?

NI: It’s not deliberately meant to clearly indicate that there is a romantic feeling between Lyse and the player character, but the Warrior of Light is a significant figure within the realm at this point in the narrative, and the allies’ bond has become very strong.

In Final Fantasy XIV the writers cannot determine the character’s age or sex, so I do want there to be room for imagination. Perhaps Lyse does feel something that’s more than friendship? It’s good to leave it to the imagination.

NY: Even I, when I was looking at some of the dialogue involving Lyse and even Alisae, thought “oh, this can be taken a certain way.” I think that comes from a strong admiration these characters feel towards the Warrior of Light. For example, if it so happens that the player is male, playing a male character, it could easily give that sort of idea that perhaps there is a chance. It’s certainly not strange, and I think perhaps Ishikawa-san is perhaps deliberately writing that into the dialogue.

But at the same time, as another example, if the player is a woman, utilizing a female character, or if he is a man playing a female character, you could easily take the dialogue as strong words of admiration towards a strong woman. I think Ishikawa-san was able to write the lines so well that it can be interpreted in either way.

Final Fantasy XIV Interview -- Stormblood's Success, Romance, Graphics Upgrades and More

G: Many popular MMORPG, when they are a few years into their life cycle, have their engine updated in order to keep up with the leading edge of visuals and tech. Is that something you might be considering for Final Fantasy XIV?

NY: I won’t say that it’s completely out of the question. Considerations should be made, but in terms of our planning for Final Fantasy XIV, there are certain elements of the next expansion that we already have to start thinking about and making plans for. There are no specific plans for a graphics engine update at this point, but there is a clear reason for that.

Previously, with MMORPGs there were sorts of updates to the graphics engine – I’m very aware of that – but at the same time, the visual standard for online games and MMORPGs in particular was going at a certain pace, matching the advances of the machines those titles ran on. There were big gaps that needed to be filled, and that’s why the games needed to update their engines to catch up to the hardware. Developers did not want their MMORPGs to run at a lower graphics quality that was perceived to be the standard in terms of hardware. As the ceiling was raised, the MMORPGs’ graphics also needed to catch up.

Nowadays, especially with console hardware, what is considered to be the top of the graphics pipeline is much different. It not really used for MMORPGs or multiplayer games, but it’s more aimed at single-player games.  Top level technology is designed to display single player games with very high graphics quality.

For example, Horizon Zero Dawn: if we were to use the same engine for Final Fantasy XIV, it would not be optimal. It doesn’t support the requirements of an MMORPG. We wouldn’t have to lower the number of characters rendered at the same time. There actually isn’t a big gap between the capacity of the hardware and what we’re trying to achieve in a MMORPG.

Within Square Enix’s Business Division 5,  we do R&D with updated technology for rendered graphics, and we also do a lot of research on the graphics pipeline aspect. For instance, there is tech that can shrink or enlarge a character’s pupil depending on how much light there is. It’s certainly not impossible to implement that into the game, but if you’re using a machine that can run the game stably at sixty frames-per-second, this tech might slow down the performance, and drop the frame rate maybe down to thirty frames per second. Would we really want something like that? Is it worth it?

Lastly, and this could also be a problem, going back to the example about Horizon, it took them six years to make that epic game, and if we were to run on the same kind of graphics engine, and we were to operate on similar technology, utilizing a similar pipeline, just implementing new gear could take us even two years. Would you be able to wait that long?

Final Fantasy XIV Interview -- Stormblood's Success, Romance, Graphics Upgrades and More

G: The pupil tech seems to be a bit overkill maybe…  But we could at least get that butt slider… [Editor’s Note: The “butt slider is — depending on who you ask to — part running joke, and part popular request among players. With the move from version 1.X to A Realm Reborn, the rears of many characters have been considerably flattened, and many would love to be able to have more curvy alter-egos with the implementation of a dedicated character customization slider]

NY: People still bring that up, mh? (Laughs) Of course, if we were to implement some sort of new technology, we might actually focus on the optimization of characters.

G: For the longest time, performing in-game activities while AFK [Away from the Keyboard] was considered very negatively by MMORPG developers and players. Nowadays the trend has been changing, with some popular games implementing some limited forms of AFK progression, with players able to leave their characters logged in performing things like fishing, or slowly leveling up by beating on a mannequin. It’s happening especially with Korean MMOs. What are your feeling about this kind of activities? Are they being considered for Final Fantasy XIV?

NY: You mentioned Korea, and that sort of activity is indeed rooted in Korean games, and there is a reason why that culture is brewing. In Korea, a game’s performance is judged on how long players are logged in from internet cafes. High traffic in that direction helps a game being recognized as performing well, so players cannot be allowed to run out of things to do, they always have something to do and be logged in, even if it’s botting. That’s the foundation of how that trend started.

With Final Fantasy XIV, we currently have no plans at all for that kind of activities. This isn’t because of a specific policy, but we don’t want to give our users the idea that they must be logged in at all times, or else they’d be missing out on something.

Final Fantasy XIV Interview -- Stormblood's Success, Romance, Graphics Upgrades and More

Rather than thinking that it’s positive that you can perform activities while AFK, players tend to look at it negatively, and think that they’re missing out if they can’t participate in those activities [if they’re implemented]. For example, let’s say that I have a lot of free time, and I’m able to leave my character in game fishing, whereas Ishikawa-san is very busy and she is unable to log into the game at all. She would look at me and wonder why I get an advantage. Players who wouldn’t be able to keep their characters logged in would be dissatisfied, and might think that they can’t catch to those who can. They might even quit the game.

With Final Fantasy XIV our content is set up so that you can play in short time spans, logging in a little bit of time each day. Even if you take a break from the game, you can always come back and you still have a chance to catch up to those who are on the front lines. You can play very flexibly, so we believe that kind of system is not necessary.

Not just us, but I believe World of Warcraft is similar as well: we’re not worried about the concurrent users. We look more to the daily active users and the monthly active users. There is no need for all of our players to be logged in at all times. That being said, if there is a higher demand from players worldwide, if for quality of life or for the sake of the player’s experience, that sort of activity is necessary, we would like to hear feedback, to see if our players desire it.


If you want to read more about Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, you can also check out our review. The game is currently available for PS4 and PC.

Nvidia and AMD are deluged with orders for PC graphics cards

Sales of PC graphics add-in cards rose in the second quarter for the first time in nearly a decade, benefiting Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Add-in cards are for personal computers that are typically used by gamers, workstations, rendering farms and enterprise segments that need high-performance graphics. Based on data from Jon Peddie Research (JPR), add-in card sales jumped 30.9% in the second quarter from the first quarter, and 34.9% from a year earlier.

More than $3.6 billion of add-in hardware was sold last quarter, representing an increase of about $850 million over the first three months of the year. Nvidia

NVDA, -0.84%

 and AMD

AMD, -0.56%

 (and their board partners) are the only graphics-processor providers in the field.


Graphics cards and graphics processing units (GPUs) from AMD and Nvidia have seen projected sales increases over the past few months because of the rise of the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin and Ethereum miners use the hardware to earn, find and verify transactions at an accelerated rate. Potential buyers in all market segments have been plagued by graphics card shortages and price increases in recent months because of the demand for coin-mining hardware. We now have sales numbers to put in context why that’s the case.

Read: Intel, once a sleeping giant, readies for battle with AMD and Qualcomm

Sales of add-in cards of AMD and Nvidia hardware were 520,000 units higher in the second quarter compared with the first quarter, according to JPR. Traditionally, we would expect the standard seasonal drop of 10,000-20,000 units. This indicates that upwards of 500,000 total units of high-end graphics were sold into the channel and, indeed, for mining-specific uses. About one in three graphics cards sold at retail, to OEMs or businesses was used for cryptocurrency mining.

Along with these sales numbers comes a market share shift. AMD Radeon graphics cards are better at cryptocurrency-mining workloads than Nvidia’s GeForce family, and miners targeted the AMD parts first. AMD gained nearly 2 percentage points of share (27.5% to 29.4%), while Nvidia dropped from 72.5% to 70.6% quarter to quarter.


The growth in add-in card sales is even more impressive when compared with the second-quarter’s 30%-plus drop in unit sales of desktop PCs.


Though the primary PC segment has declined dramatically, the discrete graphics space rose by 34.9%.

Also read: AMD finally re-enters high-end markets, taking aim at Intel and Nvidia

What remains to be seen is if this increase in GPU sales is sustainable for AMD and Nvidia, and if it will lead to more market-share shifts in AMD’s favor. We have already seen a leveling of the growth of Ethereum mining, but price changes and performance shifts in the graphics landscape have the potential to redirect it at any point.

The Nvidia product line remains better placed for the gaming landscape, and AMD has struggled with its release of a new architecture, code-named Vega. AMD benefits more from the continued strength of coin mining as it hides any potential deficiencies in the gaming segment.

Now read: Nvidia is more bullish on cryptocurrency than AMD

Ryan Shrout is the founder and lead analyst at Shrout Research, and the owner of PC Perspective. Follow him on Twitter @ryanshrout.

Starcraft Remastered Is All Graphics And No Depth – DVS Gaming

Let us Zerg hurry like it is 1998.

The defining Real Time Strategy sport of the 90s is back, besides with remastered visuals and totally re-recorded audio. Every little thing that was loved about the unique Starcraft and its enlargement Brood War is here, with out a one transform to gameplay.

This is not a evaluate of Starcraft while, it is a evaluate of Starcraft: Remastered. The foundation sport is recognized as amazing and the sport that spawned a thousand copies. It may well not be the unique RTS sport (that honor still belongs to Dune II), but it is the most well-known and the most popular. This is particularly that sport, besides now it looks a whole lot greater.

Starcraft: Remastered
A comparison of the new and previous graphics.

Gameplay

There are not any variations to gameplay in Starcraft: Remastered from Starcraft: Brood War, time period. Every little thing, for greater or for worse, features identically as it did way back in 1998. This does necessarily mean that every little thing the RTS style has learned in the past 19 several years is not utilized here, even down to the pathing and the strategy of an idle villager button. Every little thing ‘wrong’ with Starcraft: Remastered is an situation that the unique sport has, and the builders have stayed true to their word about keeping the sport true to its roots.

The pathing is the worst matter to offer with in Starcraft: Remastered. Models will battle to go as a result of limited locations or up hills when in a team. Quite generally the models will just give up using a particular ramp and try out walking close to the mountain. It adds a whole lot of micromanagement to parts of the sport that don’t will need to be.

Starcraft: Remastered

The other big gameplay situation is how many models can be selected at any a single time. With how undesirable the pathing is, this is practically a blessing, but if you want to go a lot more than twelve models at a time, it is not likely to take place. This is an intentional option by the builders while (performing so would transform gameplay at bigger amounts) considering the fact that it would transform the sport from the unique.

There are a whole lot of points like these that are just element and parcel of the deal. There are having said that two points that need to have been improved in this edition to make life greater for absolutely everyone. The initially is not remaining in a position to skip forward in briefings is a touch frustrating while.

Remaining in a position to simply click as soon as you have examine the subtitles and jump forward is anything rather popular in game titles of late, and is entirely the good quality of life considering the fact that it influences only the marketing campaign. The story is wonderful, it is the complete motive to engage in the marketing campaign, but if you examine speedier than they chat, it is frustrating to sit as a result of the briefings.

The next pretty fixable difficulty is there’s also no tooltips in this. What is good against vehicles? Is this good against buildings? What does this potential do? Starcraft under no circumstances experienced any of these (likely due to the fact it wouldn’t have in shape on the screen), so it is also not here. Soon after a era of RTS game titles that even have anything as basic as ‘Good as opposed to infantry’, this is the worst element of the sport. If you are not a Starcraft fan, you are likely to have no strategy what any of these abilities do.

Visuals and Functionality

Visually, the sport looks rather good. The latest RTS game titles will look greater (Organization of Heroes, Grey Goo, and so on), but this still looks pretty good. Compared to Starcraft II, this of course does not look any where in the vicinity of as good, but it is a great deal greater now. The graphics still pretty a great deal look 1990s-y, to the issue the place it honestly feels like the graphics were just refined and sharpened to create this finish solution. Even the cinematics look greater, which is a pretty wonderful touch.

Starcraft Remaster. Blizzard

Considering that the screens this sport was initially developed for are a great deal more compact than today’s ones, the Remastered edition is truly fantastic to open up in the track record in windowed mode and still look and operate fantastic. It demands generally very little from a overall performance standpoint to run and does so fantastic on any contemporary gaming laptop. A typical laptop need to be fantastic to run this with out any problems, the new graphics are not including that a great deal in.

Multiplayer

The biggest motive as to why you’d invest in Starcraft: Remastered is multiplayer. Accounts from the unique sport can be ported more than (so any ladder placings are not dropped), and there’s now a whole lot a lot more persons actively playing this sport than there was actively playing the unique. There’s automated matchmaking and a ladder technique, so a new participant can get rather major about their Starcraft and keep track of how good they are. Actively playing competitive Starcraft game titles was under no circumstances so easy.

Remaining Thoughts

All the basic features of a contemporary RTS sport are not here, but the foundation sport that took the earth by storm is here in contemporary resolutions and graphics. For greater or for worse, this is the unique Starcraft. Your belief of this sport falls down to what you expect from it. If you expect virtually Starcraft from 1998 besides with a great deal greater graphics, then you have obtained it. But if you are following a contemporary RTS sport, then this is undoubtedly not it.

This explained, Starcraft: Remastered under no circumstances established out to be everything new or transform everything. It is a Remastered edition, not a remake. The goal from the outset was usually to not transform a matter in conditions of gameplay, which the sport does so very well that replays from 1.6 not only operate in the Remastered edition but operate identically. Absolutely nothing has been improved gameplay intelligent.

Most of this game’s rating is derived from the foundation sport than this existing iteration. The unique Starcraft is incredible, and usually will be. The lack of any new thoughts or even everything remotely contemporary involved in this will make it reek of a money grab while. Any one who is not a die challenging RTS fan will most likely want to steer obvious of this a single, sadly.

What do you guys feel of Starcraft: Remastered? Enable us know in the opinions underneath and sign up for us on Discord, on our Facebook site, or Twitter.


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