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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.2

    Just ahead of tomorrow’s Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) release, AMD has released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.2, bringing game support to Battlefront II as well as a number of bug fixes. 17.11.2 comes as a more minor update, with the highlighted fixes largely targeting Radeon Software issues (e.g. ReLive and WattMan).
    Officially launching on November 17, Battlefront II is the much awaited sequel to EA DICE’s 2015 Star Wars Battlefront (and named nearly identically to 2005’s Battlefront II). Once again built off of the Frostbite 3 engine, Battlefront II was playable for 10 hours starting last week, applicable to gamers part of EA’s Play First Trial early access program. Not long after, EA faced significant player criticism over their implementations of Battlefront II’s microtransaction and character progression systems. EA DICE later took to a Reddit AMA to respond to concerns.
    As far as AMD graphics are concerned, Battlefront II lists the Radeon HD 7850 2GB as the minimum requirement and Radeon RX 480 4GB as recommended. While the game does feature DX12 support, some players have reported stability and performance issues when DX12 mode is enabled.
    For bug fixes, AMD has resolved the following issues:

    • [Radeon ReLive] Recorded clips may experience green corruption or green screen backgrounds.
    • [Radeon ReLive] ReLive may fail to record when switching a game between fullscreen and borderless fullscreen.
    • [Radeon WattMan] User interface may not reflect overclocked or underclocked video memory values.
    • [Radeon WattMan] WattMan may not apply correct reduced voltage values for some Radeon RX 400 and RX 500 series graphics.
    • Radeon Settings may experience a crash or hang when enabling/disabling CrossFire mode on certain HD 7000 series graphics.
    • Secondary extended displays may experience green corruption when resuming from display off or sleep modes.

    In terms of known issues, most have been documented in previous driver updates. The list of open issues is as follows:

    • Intermittent or random hanging in Overwatch; disabling ReLive may resolve the hanging.
    • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege may hang when breaching walls with grenades or explosives.
    • Some desktop productivity apps may experience latency when dragging or moving windows.
    • RX Vega graphics products may experience a system hang on installation in multi-GPU system configurations. A workaround is to do clean install only for multi-GPU enabled systems.
    • Intermittent stability issues while enabling/disabling HBCC on RX Vega cards.
    • A random system hang may be experienced after extended periods of use on system configurations using 12 GPUs for compute workloads.
    • The GPU Workload feature may cause a system hang when switching to “Compute” while CrossFire is enabled; a workaround is to disable CrossFire before switching the toggle to “Compute workloads.”
    • Resizing the Radeon Settings window may cause the user interface to stutter or exhibit corruption temporarily.
    • Unstable Radeon WattMan profiles may not be restored to default after a system hang.

    The updated drivers for AMD’s desktop, mobile, and integrated GPUs are available through the Radeon Settings tab or online at the AMD driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.2 release notes.


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    Anandtech: Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Gain SteamVR Support, a Library of VR Games

    When Microsoft introduced its Windows Mixed Reality platform for productivity and gaming earlier this year, it was clear that in order to make it competitive, the software giant would need to either create its own VR marketplace or gain compatibility with an existing one. This week Microsoft and Valve announced that Windows Mixed Reality headsets are now compatible with the SteamVR platform and therefore dozens of VR games.
    Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets will be available from multiple vendors, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and others for the price of $400 – $500 or so with controllers included. The head-mounted displays (HMDs) require a Windows 10 PC with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to operate as well as Steam with SteamVR and Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR add-ons to access virtual reality games (there is a guide how to set everything up at Steampowered). At present, the WMR for SteamVR app is in Steam Preview stage, so it is not final with all the possible consequences.
    Besides specific software, Windows Mixed Reality headsets require high-end hardware to play VR games. Officially, Microsoft has rather moderate requirements for its WMR platform (a quad-core Core i5 CPU, a GeForce GTX 960/1050 or similar GPU, etc.), but to play VR titles comfortably, Valve advices its WMR customers to use a considerably more powerful system featuring at least Intel’s quad-core Core i7 7700/7700K processor as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. Such requirements do not come completely unexpected. Windows Mixed Reality HMDs feature two 1440×1440 LCD panels (for a total resolution of 2880×1440) with a 90 Hz refresh rate and running modern games at a 2880×1440 resolution at 90 FPS or higher is a tough job for a GPU. Since different games have different requirements, it is obvious that far not all titles need a high-end video card, but it makes sense to keep the recommendations in mind.
    General Specifications of a Windows Mixed Reality Headset
    Display 2x LCD
    Resolution 2880x1440 (combined)
    1440x1440 (per eye)
    Refresh Rate 90 Hz
    FOV 95°
    Sensors Gyroscope: 6 degrees of freedom tracking
    Position Tracking Inside-Out Camera (x2)
    Audio 3.5mm Audio Jack
    Controls Microsoft Motion Controllers
    Launch Price $400 - $500, depending on manufacturer, bundle, etc.
    At present, SteamVR has about 30 - 40 titles that support Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality HMDs, which is a lot more than Microsoft itself sells in its own online store. When compared to other VR platforms, WMR is considerably behind HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift that support hundreds of titles, but keep in mind that both HMDs have been available for well over a year now. In any case, the number of games that support Microsoft's AR/VR headsets will grow over time as developers validate their titles for the new HMDs, so gaining Steam/SteamVR support is a big deal for the Windows Mixed Reality platform.
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    Anandtech: Futuremark To Release VRMark Cyan Room on November 22: A DX12 VR Benchmark

    This week, Futuremark announced their new Cyan Room DX12 test will be released for VRMark next Wednesday (November 22). This comes around a year after VRMark’s original release in November 2016, which first brought the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift oriented Orange Room test, as well as the forward-looking 5120 x 2880p resolution Blue Room test.
    Originally announced in February along with the still-in-development mobile VR benchmark, Cyan Room is built off a pure DirectX 12 VR engine designed in-house, intended to showcase the advantages that a low overhead API like DX12 can bring to VR, even to less powerful machines. Like the existing “Room” tests, Cyan Room does not require an HMD and offers custom settings and a free-navigation Experience mode. Interestingly, the Cyan Room is no longer described as sitting in between the Orange Room and Blue Room, leaving it unclear where it falls in terms of graphical intensity.
    For Futuremark as a whole, the Cyan Room is yet another DX12 based benchmark they are adding to their suites. Last month, Futuremark released Time Spy Extreme, a 4K version of their “Time Spy” DX12 3DMark test and generally punishing to graphics cards, with only the Titan Xp hovering close to the 30fps mark. No more technical details about the Cyan Room have been disclosed, but presumably it will incorporate asynchronous compute like in Time Spy Extreme. These releases come at a time where VR headsets are becoming more affordable and low-level APIs like DX12 and Vulkan are continuing to power more and more video games. For the low-latency, high resolution, and smooth framerate requirements of VR, low-level APIs could prove themselves invaluable in democratizing VR experiences.
    More information on the Orange Room and Blue Room tests can be found in Futuremark’s VRMark Technical Guide, which has yet to be updated with Cyan Room information. Cyan Room will be released on November 22 as a free update for VRMark Advanced and Professional Editions.


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    Anandtech: Best PC Power Supplies: Holiday 2017

    Now that you've picked out your CPU, it's time to start picking out the rest of your system components. And perhaps the most humble but overlooked of these components is the power supply unit (PSU). Available in a wide range of sizes and power capacities, there are a number of great PSUs out there, but choosing between them can be a challenge. So today we're bringing you our annual PC power supply guide, to help you sort figure out what the best options are, be it a low-wattage unit for a small form factor PC, or a hulking kilowatt unit for the most powerful PC.


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    Anandtech: Intel to Use Additional Assembly & Test Factory to Improve Supply of Coffe

    In a mildly interesting bit of news for a Friday, Intel has notified its customers that it will use an additional assembly and test facility in a bid to improve supply of its latest desktop Coffee Lake processors. The new site has been certified equivalent for the said CPUs, so the finished products will be identical to those that are available today.
    When Intel released its Core i7-8700K, Core i7-8700, Core i5-8600K, Core i5-8400, and other Coffee Lake products in early October, they could not meet demand and many stores did not have the higher-end models in stock at all. Today, the unlocked Core i7-8700K and i5-8600K are overpriced (compared to their MSRP) and not readily available at all times (with stock status changing several times a day), which means that their supply is not continuous and Intel cannot meet demand from all of its customers.
    Basic Specifications of Intel Core i5/i7 Desktop CPUs
    CPU Cores Freq.
    L3 TDP PN Price
    i7-8700K 6/12 3.7GHz 4.7GHz 12 MB 95W CM8068403358220
    i7-8700 3.2GHz 4.6GHz 65W CM8068403358316
    i5-8600K 6/6 3.6GHz 4.3GHz 9 MB 95W CM8068403358508
    i5-8400 2.8GHz 4.0GHz 65W CM8068403358811
    i3-8350K 4/4 4.0GHz N/A 8 MB 91W CM8068403376809
    i3-8100 3.6GHz N/A 6 MB 65W CM8068403377308
    To assemble and test Coffee Lake dies into actual Core i7/Core i5 processors, Intel has been using its primary assembly and test lines in Malaysia. Binning high-end CPUs is a challenging and time-consuming operation because far not all dies can hit required frequency and TDP. In general, the more silicon you bin, the more higher-end products you can get, but bandwidth of assembly and test lines is relatively limited.
    To ensure a continuous supply of the popular six-core Core i7-8700K, Core i7-8700, Core i5-8600K, and Core i5-8400 processors, Intel will adding another assembly and test factory located in Chengdu, China. At least initially, the site will be used to assemble and test tray/OEM versions of the said CPUs. Intel’s assembly and test facilities are a part of Intel’s Copy Exactly! (CE!) program — all methodologies and process technologies they use across different production sites across the world are the same. As a result, performance, quality, reliability and other characteristics of CPUs produced, tested and assembled in different facilities are said to be equivalent.
    Intel’s customers will begin to receive the aforementioned processors assembled in China starting from December 15. Since the factories in Malaysia will continue to be used, there will be Intel’s Core i7-8700K, Core i7-8700, Core i5-8600K, and Core i5-8400 CPUs assembled either in China or Malaysia going forward.
    Intel has been working to improve yields of its chips produced using various versions of its 14 nm fabrication process for three years now, so unless there is an anomaly in Coffee Lake's design or the 14++ technology, yields of the CFL chips should be predictable. Besides, Intel uses its 14 nm manufacturing technologies in different fabs now, so processing more wafers is not an issue for the company. And while the bandwidth of assembly and test facilities is not usually an issue for CPUs, in the case of Coffee Lake this may be the case, if Intel's PCN is anything to go by.
    Since Intel does not quantify how many Coffee Lake dies it processes now in Malaysia and how many dies are expected to be assembled and tested in China due to competitive and other reasons, it is impossible to tell how the addition of another site affects supply of its latest processors in general and their high-end versions in particular. A good news here is that Intel promises that with the addition of the Chinese assembly & test lines, supply of tray versions of the six-core Coffee Lake CPUs will be more continuous. As a result, supply and demand for boxed versions of the said chips will likely get more balanced too.
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