11 August 2022

An ITX Build experience...

I'm pretty sure this is a combination of a Space Marine chapter's colours and a USA college fraternity... i.e. an inauspicious start!

I've been building PCs on my own since the early 2000s and with my father since the early 90s but I've always built in half-size ATX tower cases (and once for my dad in his full-sized behemoth!). Mainly because I like the form factor, space, and options available... plus, the prices for these builds are more standard and thus cheaper because they are produced in larger volumes.

However, over the last couple of years I have had some longing looks at various small form factor (SFF) cases and because of various reasons*, I decided to take the plunge and dip my toes into the now very mature SFF sector... As part of that, I decided to give some feedback on how this sort of experience is in the here and now in 2022, amid semi**-shortages and with a backdrop of huge shipping price increases.
*I was tired of using a 2007-era laptop to watch Netflix and other video content on TV (slowdowns, lack of repsonsiveness were the main complaints)... and I have been working incredibly hard over the last few months and had an itch to build a new PC as a way to reward myself... and my PS4 broke and there are ZERO PS5's to be had in my country below €1000 (still) so I would really like to be able to play games in the living room once again instead of always being at a desk and monitor.
**Not "semiconductor"...

30 July 2022

Inflation... (A reality check)

Is that centered? Well, guess what?! Inflation isn't balanced either! ;)

The rumour mill has been highly productive this last week*, especially with regards to the next gen GPU output of both Nvidia and AMD, and as we near the release window of those products, we are likely to see more and more said about them. However, there is something that's concerning me a little and it might not quite be what you think:

I'm worried about performance inflation...
*Yes, I know all those links are to RedGamingTech... but I'm tired and don't feel like searching across multiple youtube channels and websites for the same information...

26 July 2022

In Defence Of: Dead-End Platforms...



AMD have recently released the much-awaited 3D stacked processor: the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and the opinions from various commentators and pundits have been flying left and right. "It beats Intel on efficiency and price/performance." "Is it worth it? It's hard to recommend."; "No overclocking is bad!"; "It's the best!"; "It's not the best"; "It's a dead-end platform..."

Everything that has been said can be made as a useful point of discussion, except for that last one. And I'm here to tell you why.

26 June 2022

The power curve of the RTX 3070... and improving system energy use.

Literally what happens...


Summer is here and temperatures are on the way up. I live in a hot climate, meaning that an average daily temperature from May to September is in the mid-thirties degrees celsius, if not higher. I don't have AC in the computer room and, even if I did, it doesn't make much sense to purposely heat up the room only to spend more money on cooling that extra heat to a comfortable level.

This situation is why I care so much about airflow in cases because in a hot environment it really matters how much quantity of already warm air you must pass through the case in order to cool components that are, relatively, less hot (though still hotter) than that air compared to the scenario in a cooler climate.

But there is something else you can do to improve component temperatures that will help in not only this situation, but also as a general principle. Let's do a quick dive into whether undervolting, underclocking, and power limiting your components (specifically the graphics card) is worth trading performance for...

15 May 2022

Analyse This: FSR 2.0...

This is not a comment on image quality... it is meant to convey us moving forward to new things!


AMD's FSR 2.0 launched* this week, with its inclusion in Deathloop's latest update and with that comes a multitude of analysis in image quality and performance uplifts. However, while those things aren't really my wheelhouse, there are a few things I thought I'd highlight about FSR 2.0 which are actually publicly available information but appear to be overlooked by many commentators and reviewers out there.
*Whatever "launch" means these days - what with both FSR 1.0 and DirectStorage doing the same thing where you can't actually get the software or source code or documentation unless you're in some sort of super secret partner programme with whoever is developing the software...

11 May 2022

Analyse This: Dissecting the new RDNA 3 rumours...

Radioactive...


So, one of the reasons why I haven't really had a big technology post in a while (aside from being super busy at work) is that the rumours for RDNA3 have just been all over the place... it has meant that anything I analyse or tried to predict was just going to be out of date in a few days once any given leaker decides to change their leak.

However, with the latest leak, I thought I thought it would be interesting to see how that stacks up against the 3 times the performance of the RX 6900XT claim we repeatedly keep seeing bandied about, as well as my predictions made at the beginning of this year...

24 April 2022

Post Thoughts: Dying Light 2

Somehow, they will work the entire title (with the exception of the "2") into the final speech by the bad guy at the end...

I've sunk hundreds of hours into Techland's zombie series. Somehow, they have single-handedly defined (and effectively carved out) The first person, physical combat, zombie-killing genre... starting with Dead island and DI: Riptide, and culminating with their refinement of the genre in the release of Dying Light where they added the parkour mechanics that really took the genre to the next level. 

Spoiling the conclusion of my thoughts after playing the game, up-front: Dying Light 2 is what Dead Island: Riptide was to the first game.

So, let's see what I think about the game. As usual: there WILL be spoilers ahead...

25 March 2022

DirectStorage, again...

 

It's approximately eleven months since I last trashed on DirectStorage and, helpfully, to ease us into the anniversary, we have the official release of the API and another presentation covering the technology - now of an actual implementation within a game which will release relatively soon! 

Actually, it's quite exciting because I get to see whether I was correct in my understanding of how things were going to play out.

So, let's dive in!

26 February 2022

The rate of advancement in gaming performance...

 
50 class cards, 12 years apart...

I've been quite busy over the last month or so and haven't really had the time to put a proper post together. To be fair, there hasn't been much of note to really talk about. Sure, I spoke about the RX 6500 XT but there was no real point in covering the RTX 3050 because it was unsurprising and the industry reacted accordingly... So, in light of the hubub surrounding the RDNA 3 rumours, I thought I'd pull together my previous data sets and look at them from a different light.

Previously, I've looked at the relative value of GPUs over the last ten years; how the inter- and intra-generational performance, price and whether and when upgrades made sense. What I didn't look at and what many people have not looked at is the trend in performance we're getting per year in GPU class releases and where that may be taking us... 

So, that's where we are today.

22 January 2022

An RX 6500 XT post mortem...

My name is Ozymandias...


Last year, I asked Scott Herkelman over on PC World's The Full Nerd show if it even made sense to scale RDNA 2 down to the bottom of the stack.

On Wednesday, AMD released the RX 6500 XT to almost universal criticism...

Let's take a look at this situation.

11 January 2022

How to fix the graphics card market... (IMO)

It'sa raining them, hallelujah!


The last few years have shown something dire affecting the computer gaming market: complete lack of control surrounding graphics card pricing, availability and segmentation. 

Contrast this with virtually every other component in the construction of an individual gaming PC, where pricing and availability have fluctuated far less despite there being a similar lack of manufacturers present in the supply of those components.

We all know the parts of the industry that aren't working out but rarely does anyone try and "fix" what's wrong - at least on paper or in theory. 

Well, I'm about to do that with this fluffy thought piece of a blogpost. So buckle up for a wild ride into the lush forests of my imagination, where GPUs roam free for the gaming hunter to shoot them with their own BFG and take home to display on their mantlepiece.