29 December 2021

Case airflow and design...

A false colour image of a turbulent jet; C. Fukushima and J. Westerweel

There's a topic that I've never really broached before on this blog and it's mostly because I haven't had the time though, more precisely, it's because I haven't had the time to do a deep dive into the background of the topic so that I can talk semi-intelligently on it.

However saying that, while I'm not an expert in fluid dynamics and flow design, I do have a lot of practical experience in industrial and research/academic airflow design between building and designing systems that can achieve 10-6 bar and refill to 10-100 bar, to enclosed and open airflow glove boxes. Working with these systems has given me a decent foundation on the principles, pitfalls and limitations of certain designs. 

While I've actually had a post in mind on this subject for quite a time, I wasn't really motivated to really put any effort into it as I've seen movement in the subject from outlets like GamersNexus and LinusMediaGroup in this field and, undoubtedly, they can do a better job than I can in real terms because they have the equipment and funding to be able to do so. Comparatively, my keyboard warrior abilities of putting text (and sometimes pictures!) on a screen really do pale by comparison.

So what did motivate me to write this post? 

Linus' latest case airflow video did and the reason it did is that I believe that they are missing out on a lot of issues in airflow design, causing them to draw some questionable conclusions - something that GamersNexus will not be able to cover with their fan testing equipment either.

So, while I'm not an expert, I do have some expertise in this area so let me give my perspective on case cooling and see what people think about it.

24 December 2021

Looking back at 2021 and predictions for 2022...

I'm tempted to make the same joke as last year...

Last year I decided to start a yearly predictions post. It's a bit of fun - it's nice to stretch the imagination and ruminate about what might be coming around the corner, especially with shows such as CES happening right at the beginning of 2022. So there's really no time to wait to see if I'm right in my predictions! 

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's look back at 2021...

15 December 2021

Next Gen PC gaming requirements (2021 update)


Way back in 2020 I started compiling a huge list of games and their recommended system requirements in order to track where we've been, where we are, and where we're going in terms of hardware required to play PC games as they are "intended" by their creators. I noted in that series that I planned to keep up this exercise on a yearly basis to see how things pan out in reality and to see how my predictions match up with that reality. 

It's a nerdy thing but I have not seen anyone or anywhere else try and track these sorts of parameters and I find it very interesting to think and talk about... plus, maybe could help someone make buying decisions based on what videogames are requiring of consumers to be able to play them.

Without further ado - let's go look at how 2021 panned out.

12 December 2021

Top games since 2010...

Courtesy of Massive Chalice... also another game I greatly enjoyed!

While I don't normally do "favourite games" lists, but I had planned to do one for the end of last year and then was thinking about this draf for this year... So I decided to soldier on and finish it. :) I don't think this requires much introduction; I played a lot of games over the last ten years and here are my favourites, in no particular order, along with why I chose them. As always, "top games" lists can be contentious but ultimately the point is to share what you personally liked...

Oh yeah - There WILL be spoilers!!

12 November 2021

The Full Nerd 2021 hardware awards...

This may be the only way to actually have a PC in a few years' time...

Yesterday, I watched the latest episode of the excellent Full Nerd Show, presented by PC World staff. They covered their favourite tech for the year in the categories of CPU, GPU, PC case, "Accessory", Laptop, PC game, Best innovation, and Worst Trend. I highly recommend a watch of this episode in particular as there's a lively debate over the CPU and GPU picks but I recommened subscribing to their channel in general as The Full Nerd is always of high quality.

However, I did have some thoughts about those two hotly debated categories and on what my own picks woud be for the CPU and GPU of the year....

7 November 2021

Is AMD in trouble? R5 5600X vs i5-12600K meta analysis...

Yeah, I splurged on a stock photo license for this piece...

Dear friends, 

We are gathered here today to lay to rest our dear friend, Zen 3. Zen 3 was received in this world in a mostly positive way, despite their parent, AMD, charging more for them than was expected or deemed seemly. However, Zen 3's life was cut dramatically short on the 04th November 2021 after just one year  on the market, when Intel released their 12th generation of processors, previously codenamed "Alder Lake".

And so, we pay our respects to Zen 3. Ashes to ashes, dust to- OMG, it's alive! It's STILL alive!

30 October 2021

Post Thoughts: PC Gaming Simulator


A couple of weekends ago, PC Building Simulator was offered for free on the EPIC Games Store. I was intrigued enough to check it out but wasn't super interested in it other than to satisfy that curiosity. The first thing to note is that this game's name is terrible!! It only partially describes what the game is about and, at least for me, led me to the wrong conclusion.

So let's take a look at what I liked and didn't like about this title. As usual: here be spoilers!

25 September 2021

Consoles aren't good enough for Ray Tracing...

[From Henrik, via Wikipedia]

I remember seeing articles and thought pieces before the release of the current gen console hardware regarding their ability to perform ray tracing (RT, for short) in games. Overall, I think they were pretty pessimistic on the whole and, especially towards release, the Series S was never really considered as a serious RT machine. 

However, since release we've had several games that have proven that there was little to fear and that, if integrated at an early stage in a game's design or within the engine design, ray tracing is perfectly possible. 

So, it's surprising to see this article on Tom's Hardware stating the opposite.

9 September 2021

Analyse This: The Story of Hyper Light Drifter... (Part 4)

Into the unknown...

I noticed that, recently, this series had been getting a few views again and I remembered that I had practically written two more entries and never posted them. So I figured that I'd finish what I'd started...

From here on out, we're in pure speculative and analytical territory. These are all observations and connections I've made based on what's in the game... but they're just that: Things my mind sees.

Just a reminder that this series discusses aspects of the game Hyper Light Drifter and will veer wildly into spoiler territory from the get-go.


5 September 2021

Does AMD's Dominance Even Matter...?


Over the last year or so, a lot has come to light about how the current generation of AMD's graphics cards are superior to Nvidia's in various ways. While I will mention them here, my intention isn't to dive into these features... the point of this post is to question if they even matter.

29 August 2021

The Discrete GPU Market and Where we're Heading... (about supply and demand)

Today, I wanted to do some light coverage and analysis of Tom's Hardware's reporting of Jon Peddie Research's report on GPU shipments over the same time period contrasted with Canalys' report on the size of the PC gaming market and how that's likely to affect not only GPU availability but also GPU pricing going forward...

28 August 2021

The Relative Value of GPUs Over The Last 10 Years...

There's been a comparison that I've been wanting to do for a long time but I just didn't have the time or the energy to take it on. Finally, I had a bit of a break from work and recharged enough to be able to sit down and focus on this to get it done. 

Below, I'll explore the historic pricing versus the relative performance of each generation of graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia over the period of 2010 - 2020*. From that, I will draw out the generational leaps per performance tier and the relative value of each of those jumps as well as the value within each generation. This will also help us try and understand how the price/performance strategy has changed per generation for both companies.
*Yes, I'm aware that the last ten years are technically 2011 - 2021... but the current generation started in 2020, and some data I would need for 2021 doesn't exist yet!

16 July 2021

The Uncertain Future of PC Gaming... (plus my opinion on Valve's Steam Deck)


Three things occurred today that kickstarted my thought processes and got me a little worried about the future of PC gaming. First off, I listened to a really good episode of the TECHonomics podcast. The second thing was that AMD pre-released FSR, along with some documentation. Finally, Valve released the Steam Deck for preorder.  Now I'm feeling very uncertain about the future of PC gaming...

1 June 2021

Fidelity FX Super Resolution's dirty secret... (Updated)

AMD have showcased their FSR (Fidelity FX Super Resolution) upscaling technology very briefly this morning to much critical acclaim. It's coming earlier than I had predicted, given AMD's comments at the beginning of the year, and I am optimistic that this will give a boost to AMD's performance in future titles. However, I'm not as bullish on the implementation as others are for two reasons... I believe Paul over at NotAnAppleFan when he says that FSR "has a catch", and I believe that FSR needs driver implementation from the platform vendors. 

24 April 2021

Analyse This: The Relative Efficiency of Nvidia Architectures...


For the last year, I've been looking at the predicted performance and efficiency of the RDNA architecture(s) as those were what I was most familiar with and most interested in due to their presence in the now current gen consoles. I determined early on that there was no IPC improvement between RDNA 1 and 2 and that it was merely* a clockspeed bump that was dictating any performance increase per compute unit (CU). However, in the back of my mind I was asking myself how Nvidia's architectures stack up against one another in a similar comparison but I knew that you can't normally directly compare between architectural designs except when the comparison is abstracted via different metrics. 
*I say "merely" but I still think it's impressive how far AMD were able to push the working frequency of their chips.
Luckily for me, this is exactly what I did for the final RDNA analysis - I used real world benchmarks  in games and actively used frequency (performed by TechPowerUp) to inform the relationship between performance and architectural aspects. While I wasn't able to pull as much information due to the differences in architecture, I was still able to compare and contrast between AMD's and Nvidia's respective approaches to graphics card design and I'll try and take a look into the future to see what we might expect next, as I always do...

21 April 2021

DirectStorage and its impact on PC gaming...

At the beginning of the year, I railed against the focus on standardising game API features across PC and console, specifically with regards to designing systems around the limitations of the console hardware. Well, today we got some updated information on how DirectStorage will work and it's basically as bad as I said it would be...

19 March 2021

Analyse This: Post Mortem of the RX 6700 XT release...


So the reviews for the RX 6700 XT are finally online and it's time for me to take a quick look back at my predictions and see how they panned out...

18 March 2021

Analyse This: The Potential Performance of Xe (DG-2)...


After my relatively successful look at RDNA 2-based systems (consoles and the RX 6000 series) I've been thinking of turning my analytical eye towards both Nvidia's and Intel's architectures. While I'm working towards getting my Geforce ducks in a row, I figured that I'd strike whilst the iron is hot on DG-2 rumours before more information is released...

3 March 2021

RX 6700 XT announced... but is it really this good?


Today, AMD announced the RX 6700 XT - the card that a majority of people have been looking forward to. While the numbers provided by AMD look really good, I feel like we all need a good dose of skepticism until the proper reviews land. You'll see why in a moment...

2 January 2021

2021 PC gaming rant... or How DirectX 12 Ultimate is killing PC gaming to enable console gaming.

Come at me, bro!

I'm in an angry mood - so lets start 2021 with a bang! This is going to be a post about what I think is wrong about PC gaming and how we can possibly fix that.

So, buckle-up in your seats and get ready for the whiniest, most annoying post I might ever make! :D