AMD reacts extensively on stuttering GPU problems

Many of you probably may have noticed that we recently have included the so called frame times in a few benchmarks. It turns out that just an average fps-value does not represent the entire picture any longer; some games run better on video cards from a specific brand, despite that they calculate less frames per second. That is because of the fact that it takes (a lot) longer for some frames to be calculated, something that can’t be concluded just out of fps-averages.

AMD realizes for quite some time that games like Far Cry 3 stutter on their video cards, and fixed many of those issues with driver updates. The manufacturer has taken the time to respond to the stuttering problems, and a road map has been released at the same time that shows when AMD wants to achieve certain milestones. Earlier today, on Anandtech, a long article has been published that explains in detail what the cause of the problem is, and what can be done about it.

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By the way, the problems don’t necessarily always lie with the video card itself, because the drivers and especially Windows are also still in between it. In order to calculate a frame, the program gives an instruction to Windows first that subsequently redirects it to the GPU. Therefore the stuttering can be caused by the video chip itself, it simply cannot calculate a frame on time, but can also be that the driver takes too long to sent a frame to the GPU. Of course the processor can stall the entire process if it needs to save computing power for other programs or drivers on these crucial moments.

At which rendering times someone notices stuttering, or finds it annoying, depends on the user. AMD indicates somewhat justly that we can measure times, but that we actually can never predict what the consequences are for the overall user experience.

The program that’s usually utilized to measure the times in between the frames is called FRAPS, what’s not ideal according to AMD. Before a frame is shown on the screen the program may request a short pause in order to calculate the screen overlay. Moreover, only the Present calls are measured as frames. Therefore FRAPS works with pretty much all programs, but there are also some objections according to AMD. Because FRAPS works on the Windows,- driver- and hardware layer, it can only specify what is being sent as an instruction and not what (if any delayed) the final result is.

This would exaggerated some of the stuttering problems, while it’s overlooked in other situations. According to Anandtech, Nvidia shares the same opinion, for the same reasons as mentioned above. An alternative that was mentioned by AMD is Microsoft’s GPUView, a program that monitors the rendering pipeline of the video card.

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The biggest reason for the stuttering is simply that AMD claims to have always tried to compete with Nvidia in terms of marketing; the frames per second. The faltering has never been studied, so nothing has ever been done about it. Previously, the video card manufacturer even assumed that the problem was caused by the operating system or other programs; of course knew its own drivers exceptionally well. On top of that AMD wrongly assumed that Nvidia and Intel were dealing with the same problems, due to the lack of proper analytical studies. Ultimately, the solution to the problem was in their own backyard. Most problems were even very easy to solve, so was the outcome of several recently conducted studies of the company itself.

AMD has worked hard to solve the stuttering problem, and in the mean time has released new beta versions of its Catalyst drivers online that have slight improvements. By the way, in DirectX9 the bottleneck should’ve been solved, and at the moment they’re working hard to make DX10 run fluently. From this review of Techreport it turns out that the Catalyst 13.2 beta performs significantly better when it comes to frame times that version number 12.11 b8, what becomes clear in the chart below.

ASUS Released GeForce GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II Boost GPU

In the wake of the release of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, the various manufacturers come out with their own versions of Nvidia’s new GPU, which should push full HD gaming to an even more affordable level. Our review will explain all the details and subjects the GPU to a fair amount of tests. ASUS could not provide us with a sample on time for the test, but let us know they have a GTX 650 Ti Boost ready, completely with the famous DirectCU II cooling – and standard overclocked.

  AUSU GeForce GTX 650

Where the GTX 650 Ti Boost typically runs at 980 MHz with a ‘Boost’ to 1033 MHz and the memory at 1502 MHz, the GTX 650 Ti Direct CU II Boost is clocked a notch higher. ASUS specifies a standard GPU speed of 1020 MHz, with a boost of 1085 MHz.

These speeds apply to the overclocked version, because there are two models: the GTX650TIB-DC2OC-2GD5 and GTX650TIB-DC2-2GD5. Both come with 2GB DDR5 memory running at an effectively 6008MHz (1502 MHz GDDR5). Furthermore these cards have a DVI-I and DVI-D output, plus HDMI and DisplayPort.

ASUS claims to have 20% lower temperatures for the DirectCU II cooler in comparison with a reference model. This cooler has two 80mm fans which should be very quite due to the minimal airflow resistance.

A test sample arrived already in our lab, too late to be included in the main test of the GTX 650 Ti Boost GPU, but of course we will elaborate on this once the test is completed, to see what the added value is of the standard clock.

Prices and availability are not yet known as of this time of writing, but we will add this as soon as we hear from ASUS.

[Update 03/26/2013 2:21 p.m.] ASUS let us know that the graphic cards should be in store by the end of next week. The MSRP of the OC version is 179 euros, the standard edition will not be available through the regular channels in the Netherlands.

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Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148 Gaming Laptop Review

The Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148 is a solid laptop for the casual laptop user. While it does not boast a lot of special features or creature comforts, it is a solid choice for any one who needs a laptop on a budget. Let’s look at why:

Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148 Gaming Laptop

Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148 Specs:
  • Processor: AMD A-Series Quad-Core A10-4600M
  • Ram: 8GB DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 1 TB 5400 RPM
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7660G
  • USB: 2 x USB3.0, 1 USB x 2.0

The Good

The biggest selling point of this item is the price; it is extremely cost effective in terms of what you get for what you pay. Continue Reading “Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148 Gaming Laptop Review”

Metal Gear Solid trailer V: The Phantom Pain

During the GDC (Game Developers Conference) in San Francisco, Konami presents the trailer will be the new Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

In the video you can see Solid Snake in a hospital while a group of doctors make several efforts to try to save his life. We can also get an idea of the type of gameplay the game, not to mention the weapons and setting.

Asus VG248QE, New 24-inch Monitor for Gamer

So, in case you didn’t know, not only the keyboard, mouse and cabinets (with its own hardware) can be oriented to gamers, but also monitors, and here is one of them, the new ASUS VG248QE.

This is the latest monitor gamer launched by ASUS. The VG248QE has a great screen measuring 24 inches, features LED backlighting and its resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD). The contrast ratio is 1000:1, its brightness is about 350 nits (more than most standard monitors) and the response time is about 1ms, making it 5 times faster to the when responding in comparison to a large proportion of the current monitors.
Apart from all this, the ASUS VG248QE comes with two speakers of 2W each, has two DVI-D connectors, an HDMI and a Display Port.

The new ASUS monitor is already on sale and can purchase it for about $294 U.S. dollars. It’s a shame that it don’t have touch features, although most modern games are not designed specifically for touch screens, so you’d get little benefit in that aspect

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers Released

Wizards of the Coast has released the most recent version of their card collectible series, which is entitled Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers. The new series is called Magic 2014. It says that it has ten new decks, fifteen new experiences, ten new puzzle adventures and a new gaming mode. It also makes it possible for you to work with the new line of cards in a digital manner before they are later put into a cardboard format. This does not seem to be as big of an upgrade as the Magic 2012 and 2013 upgrades. This will be the case if the new mode is not all that great.

The trailer that comes with it really does not give you that much information. Instead it puts a lot of emphasis on the Planeswalker Chandra Nalaar. Remember, she has the ability to put her own hair on fire. Honestly, this is not that hard. The difficult piece will be to turn your bounce back to the way that it should be without getting burned at the same time.

magic-2014

I love my HP Envy x2

I have purchased the HP Envy x2 (in France where I am living) and love it.
My background : my brother has the Surface RT, my wife an iPad so I have extensive experience on both.

Several points pointed above that does not make sense for me :
– ATOM not done for gaming : This is one the funniest thing that I have read. How want to game on a tablet ?

I have a desktop computer with a QuadCore i750 overclocked, 16Go of RAM, a CUDA GPU (to take advantage of for Premiere Pro hardware acceleration), a SSD for the OS. with a 27″ screen I use that when I am making photos or videos. I do not want to make photoshop on a 10 or 11″ screen and really do not see who would like to !!! So far, the HP Envy is accepting everything I am throwing to. Surfing, email, chat… is working perfectly. The interface is very very fluid, as much as an iPad. Office 2013 (that I have installed) works perfectly. It is just working perfectly fine for 95% of the usage you would have on a screen of this size.
By the way, does an iPad offers a better gaming experience ? Is there another tablet better for game ? You must choose a gaming laptop!

Continue Reading “I love my HP Envy x2”

Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 – A Good Choice for Gamer

Today we’ll be delving into the Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset. When it comes to headsets, I am and always will be a Logitech fan, so let’s take a look at how well this offering carries the honor of the brand.

The Good

As with any wireless head set, there are certain accommodations one has to make for mobility, but the G930 chooses not to sacrifice quality for convenience.

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http://pcgamerhome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/dolby.jpgThe audio you hear is delivered in delightful 48 kHz Dolby 7.1 surround sound, and is sent out crystal clear with a number of niche noise-canceling features, and a few automatic shut off feature creature comforts that help with the day to day handling of your headset. As one who constantly adjusts the mic on his headset, I appreciated the feature on this headset to automatically mute when you do so.

http://pcgamerhome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Three-programmable-G-keys.jpgIt delivers on its promised 40 foot range, promising you will have full sound quality in and out regardless of where you deign to use it, with no appreciable loss to quality, and therefore no loss to immersion.

It includes a number of programmable push to talk and macro buttons on the headset itself, which is immensely useful to any gamer, but particularly those whose keys are already tied up extensively with macros, allowing the headset to account for the push to talk button, freeing up valuable keyboard real estate.

The head set is solidly built, and did not skimp on comfort, both of which are more than welcome, as any gamer can attest to the misery of an uncomfortable headset, or the stress of fearing you’ll break it each time you put it on or take it off.

The Bad

The downside to this beauty is that it is wireless, and comes with all the perils and pitfalls that spawn from the territory. Depending on how extensively your gaming cave is interlinked wirelessly, you could have no issues, or you could have various issues with the signal being crossed, or your headset deciding it wants to communicate with your smart phone, or any other strange combination of signal interaction.

Because so much effort was put into making it comfortable and well-constructed, the head set is heavy. For gamers with a cushioning of hair, or a big head, it can be mitigated, but for our average-haired, average-size-headed comrades, this crown can weigh heavily.

Last but not least, the button placement on the headset lends itself to fat fingering button push gaffes, which marginalizes its efficacy, as sometimes it is more effective to dedicate only one button to use, to prevent inadvertent button issues.

Conclusion

Overall, the G930 lives up to the storied reputation of its brand, and avails itself well as a gaming accessory. The good far outweighs the bad, and these masterfully constructed headsets have proven to be more than capable of standing the test of time, which is more than many gaming headsets can claim.

When the usual life of a gaming headset can be from six to twelve months, and these bad boys still perform in top form after two yeas, you know you’ve got a winner on your hands.

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Acer Aspire V3-771G-9441 Gaming Laptop Review

While some people focus on price when choosing a new laptop, many others will choose a laptop for it’s features. Modern technology allows computer companies to make laptops that are every bit as functional as their desktop counterparts and best of all, you can take your powerful new system anywhere! Whether you want a new laptop to produce media, get some work done, watch movies or play video games, Acer has a laptop that is worth considering.

Acer Aspire V3-771G-9441 laptop

It’s the Acer Aspire V3-771G-9441 but we’ll just call it the Aspire V3. It sports a speedy third-generation Intel i7 CPU. The clock speed for the CPU is 2.4Ghz but can be boosted up to 3.4Ghz. It has plenty of memory, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and the laptop also has a video card with it’s own 4GB of dedicated DDR3 RAM. This laptop can easily run lots of demanding software. A terabyte of hard drive space gives you plenty of room to store your photos, movies or games and you’ll be able to hold lots of them. With the Dolby Home Theater optimization your music and movies will sound amazing. The large 17.3 inch screen is big enough for your friends to watch a movie with you or you can hook it up to a TV or monitor for even more viewing space.

Continue Reading “Acer Aspire V3-771G-9441 Gaming Laptop Review”