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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #8621

    Anandtech: Apple Announces The Apple Watch 4: Fully Custom SiP

    Today alongside the new iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR, Apple first introduced the new Apple Watch Series 4. The fourth generation of the watch sees a major revamp in its specifications and the most visible external design change to date.
    Inside the new Apple Watch 4, we see Apple transition to a new SiP (Silicon in Package) design with a new S4 SoC containing for the first time a custom Apple designed CPU and GPU. We don’t have much information on the specifications here other than the new dual-CPU is 64-bit capable and is promised to perform twice as fast as it’s predecessors – which used Arm’s Cortex A7.
    It’s to be noted that the 64-bit part of the new CPU might not be as clear as one might think, as there’s been some evidence (Credit @KhaosT) that the Watch might be running in ARM64_32 mode, which would be a 32-bit submode of AArch64 that allows for 32-bit pointers while retaining the ISA advantages of AArch64. Such a mode would be most optimal for a low-memory device such as smartwatch.
    Prior generations of the Apple watch used a variation of an Imagination SGX core. For the S4 again Apple claims it’s a new custom GPU – again we don’t have any details here other than what Apple talked about in the presentation.
    Finally the new S4 SiP includes new accelerometer and gyroscope functionality that has 2x the dynamic range in terms of measurable values, as well as able to sample data at 8x the speed. What this allows Apple to do is to collect a lot more data at higher accuracy and try to determine the scenario that you’re in. For example Apple claims the new watch is able to discern between falling, tripping and slipping just based on the movements that the person makes – whose detection is now enables by the new hardware sensor capabilities.
    The new watch comes in 40 and 44mm sizes, and is fully compatible with prior generation Watch bands.
    The core new characteristic of the new watch is the larger screen which now achieves a higher screen-to-body ratio on the watch. This is actually a pretty great improvement as the new screen feels a lot more pronounced.
    To emphasize the new screen, Apple provides new watch faces with configurable information. Here the new watch allows for up to 8 complications which are at the disposal of the user. There’s also several new animated wallpapers available – these are pre-recorded videos that just play back on the watch face.
    The new watch has also lost some of its thickness as it’s now 10.7mm versus the series 3’s 11.4mm. Here I’m still hoping one day we can see even thinner models, as it’s my personal least favourite aspect of smartwatches in general. Even though its thickness got reduced and it offers more performance and features, the new watch is said to maintain the same battery life longevity as its predecessors.
    The sides of the watch have also changed quite a bit. On the left side we now have a larger speaker grill; Apple promises the new speaker to be a lot louder and surprisingly so for a watch. Unfortunately during the loud hands-on this was quite hard to evaluate.
    On the right side we see the microphone being relocated between the button and the crown dial. The reasoning here is to reduce echo effects from the new more powerful speaker. The crown has been improved and now gives haptic feedback, trying to mimick the “clicking wheel” feel such as in more mechanical dials, or more aptly, the clicking of a mouse wheel when you scroll with it. The haptics here are enabled not by the crown itself, but by a vibration motor inside the watch.
    On the back of the watch we don’t see much visible changes, however we now find a new improved optical heartrate sensor which is able to detect the heart rhythm.
    What’s actually the most interesting in terms of the health monitoring capabilities of the new watch is that it actually includes for the first time ever a ECG (electrocardiogram) functionality in an over the counter consumer device. Here all you have to do while wearing the watch is to touch the crown – which serves as an anode and closes the loop created across your arms and heart.
    Apple was very proud to be the first consumer device to enable this and had even received approval by the US FDA. It’s to be noted that this will beg some questions on how the feature will be implemented in other regions, as using and advertising such medical monitoring features might be disallowed if you don’t have regulatory approval.
    Apple definitely is leading the smartwatch sector by a significant margin, and the company was even keen to point out that the Apple Watch is the most popular watch overall as well (Though that’s just because there’s no one dominating classic watch in a similar position).
    The new Apple watch with GPS is available for $399 and the LTE variant comes in at $499 and are both available starting September 17th, with preorders starting this Friday the 14th. Overall I found the new Apple Watch 4 a lot more attractive than its predecessors – though it’s still a quite steep price point.


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    #8622

    Anandtech: ADATA Unveils IUSP33F BGA SSDs: Up to 1.2 GB/s Throughput

    ADATA has announced its first SSDs in a BGA form-factor. The IUSP33F drives are designed for devices that require a storage solution with a minimal footprint, such as thin-and-light laptops, convertible notebooks, or tablets. Meanwhile, the performance of ADATA’s BGA SSDs is higher than that of mainstream SATA SSDs.
    ADATA’s IUSP33F drives offer capacities of 128 GB and 256 GB and come in an industry standard Type 1113-X (11.5×13 mm) package, which is further attached to the host via a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface. The SSDs are based on Silicon Motion’s SM2263XT DRAM-less controller with HMB support and are paired with Micron's 3D NAND memory. The solution fully supports the NVMe 1.3 protocol, SMI’s NANDXtend LDPC ECC engine, an end-to-end data path protection as well as embedded programmable RAID to further improve reliability and durability of SSDs.
    Looking at performance specifications, we see up to 1195 MB/s sequential read speeds as well as up to 940 MB/s sequential write speeds, which is in line with inexpensive PCIe 3.0 x2 SSDs in M.2 form-factors. As for random performance, the IUSP33F can hit up to 140,000 read IOPS and up to 114,000 write IOPS.
    ADATA did not disclose when it plans to make its IUSP33F BGA drives available in volume, but since such products are aimed at PC OEMs, it is likely that either the manufacturer has already delivered the first batch, or is actively searching for interested customers. As for pricing, it will depend on volumes and other factors.
    ADATA IUSP33F Specifications
    Capacity 128 GB 256 GB
    Model Number ? ?
    Controller Silicon Motion SM2263XT Controller
    NAND Flash Micron B16A 64-layer 3D TLC NAND
    Form-Factor, Interface BGA Type-1113-X, PCIe 3.0 x2
    Sequential Read up to 1195 MB/s
    Sequential Write up to 940 MB/s
    Random Read IOPS up to 140K IOPS
    Random Write IOPS up to 114K IOPS
    Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
    DRAM Buffer No
    Encryption The controller supports TCG OPAL 2.0, but it is unknown whether the technology is enabled by ADATA
    Power Management Active: ?
    Slumber: ?
    Warranty Depends on terms
    MTBF millions of hours
    Related Reading:


    Source: ADATA


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    #8623

    Anandtech: The MSI GT75 Titan Laptop Review: Hex-Core DTR

    The gaming laptop segment is one of the most profitable around, and MSI has focused their laptops almost exclusively on this market for the last couple of years. Today we are taking a look at the MSI GT75 Titan, otherwise affectionately known as the GT75 Titan-093. The GT lineup is the top of the range for MSI, and the GT75 Titan offers all the accoutrements you’d be expecting in a gaming laptop.


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    #8624

    Anandtech: Samsung’s One Invisible Connection: 75 Gbps and 230W in a Ultra Thin Cable

    This perhaps isn’t news, but there was something super amazing that I saw on the show floor at IFA this year that I wanted to write about. Despite writing about the technology industry for nearly ten years, I still like to pace around a show floor to find new and exciting things. After bypassing room upon room of ovens and carbon-fibre fridges, I was stunned to be introduced to Samsung’s One Invisible Connection. This is a tiny thin cable that seems to do everything.
    Everyone dislikes cables. If we could transmit data wirelessly, and transmit power wirelessly, I’m sure I speak for most people and say that our lives would be far less cluttered if we could do away with cable messes. Samsung’s One Invisible Connection, in turn, aims to simplify everything. In one small cable they are able to power a full-sized 4K display (up to 230W) as well as transmit 4K video (75 Gbps). A picture says a thousand words:
    A cable supporting that much data and that much power, to me, seems crazy. Apparently Samsung is shipping this on all their high-end OLED displays already, and it connects to a host box which deals with power and the video inputs, such as a Blu-Ray player, console, or cable TV. (ed: for anyone wondering, the cable appears to be an optical cable with additional wires for carrying high voltage DC power)

    Cable indicated by white arrow
    I still can’t get over how thin this cable is. It’s as thin as my 65W charger cable for my laptop. And Samsung offers the cable in both 5m and 15m lengths (~16.5ft and ~50ft), so it's not a short-run cable either. I asked why it wasn’t a standard across everything, and the reason is because of the high cost. Not the cost of the cable, mind you, but rather the extra hardware that goes into the device before the TV, and into the TV itself. I tried to take a picture of the back of the TV, but it didn’t come out well. This is the danger of having a Perspex booth to demonstrate the technology.
    Well like I said, it isn’t new. But it is something that made me a bit speechless.


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    #8625

    Anandtech: Toshiba’s Portégé X30T: An Uncanny Mix of Clamshell and Tablet

    Back at the IFA event in Germany, I noticed that Toshiba had announced a new laptop. However the headline didn’t quite grab my eye. It was only by chance that while walking through the show floor, I stumbled into the Toshiba booth where the device, called the Portégé X30T, was on display. When I say it is an uncanny mix of clamshell and tablet, this is not an exaggeration: trying to tap into that Thinkpad market is difficult, and Toshiba thinks this new device is one to fit into the bill.
    Toshiba lists the Portégé X30T as ‘a business companion that’s built to move’. And if you take a quick glance at the fully-assembled device, then you'd say it looks like any other laptop, with a large high quality screen, a keyboard with ports, a hinge, and that should be the lot. However the Portégé X30T is more like a conventional 2-in-1: the keyboard – with houses the USB ports, VGA output, HDMI output, and Ethernet port – detaches.
    The unit physically detaches with two metallic hooks to reveal a USB-C connection between the keyboard and the screen, but all the internals are housed in the screen. Those internals include a 15W class Intel processor with integrated graphics, storage and memory, but also a back hinge for the device to stand up like most 2-in-1 devices when the slim keyboard is used.
    The full-fat keyboard, with an extra battery and ports, makes the system stable enough to be a clamshell; but users can invest in a light weight keyboard for the device to be more portable. The slim keyboard by contrast uses a simple pogo-pin type interface. But that being said, even with the full-fat keyboard, I felt the overall design was still fairly light – it was actually the first thing I said to the rep when they handed me the unit.
    Inside the screen is an 8th generation U-series processor, a 13.3-inch FHD touchscreen display with active pen support, the built-in kickstand, both front-facing and rear-facing cameras, and Toshiba states that it is around 0.9 inches thick and weighs under 1kg. The base tablet mode should be good for eight hours of battery life, but the full-fat keyboard bumps that up to 14-15 hours. Toshiba is offering a 3-year warranty for the laptop, and it is built to the MIL-STD-810G standard for durability.
    Compared to the previous generation, it would appear that the in-keyboard trackpoint is now an optional extra (for business users that prefer it), and Toshiba has bumped the device up from a 5W Core M to a 15W U-series processor, which requires additional vents in the tablet part of the device.
    Toshiba is set to make the newest Portégé X30T available in October, starting at $1550.
    To be honest, my main critique with 2-in-1 devices is that I use my main portable notebook in clamshell mode at critical parts of my job – either on tiny tables on airplanes, or on my lap during keynotes. This is where the 2-in-1 model falls apart: it requires an additional ‘stand’ which takes more room that I don’t have. By having a weighty keyboard that also adds a lot of battery life, Toshiba has a good thing going here. If I know I’m going to be doing desk work, I can potentially use the lightweight keyboard at all other times.
    Related Reading


    Gallery: Toshiba’s Portégé X30T: An Uncanny Mix of Clamshell and Tablet





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    #8626

    Anandtech: Hyper Juice: 99Wh Battery Pack with 100W Charging for ~$400

    Even though IFA has passed, one interesting element I still want to highlight is this little gadget that caught my eye. A company called Hyper Juice, which specialises in battery packs and other things, was showing off their latest un-named project: a super large but still carry-on-luggage-allowed battery capable of recharging a MacBook twice.
    This unit boasts some impressive specifications. To combat the carry-on flight limit of 100 Wh, this unit fits in at 99.16 watt-hours / 27000 mAh of capacity, and can peak at 130 Watts of power delivery between its three connectors. It offers a Type-C port that can do up to 100W, a second Type-C good for 60W, and a Type-A that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 at up to 18W. The unit is charged through the 100W Type-C port, and the rep on hand expected a 100W wall charger to be supplied with the unit.
    The design is meant to emulate the products from a famous fruit company (no, not Blackberry) and this is exactly what I was told about the market: they are explicitly going after professional MacBook users. Hyper Juice states the unit is good for two full charges for the standard MacBook and just over a full charge on a MacBook Pro 15.6-inch.
    The company doesn’t have a name for its halo product, partly because it has never named any of its previous products. I suggested something like this needs a good name to go into the market. I was told that it will be sold for around 399 Euro, and be available in November in at least Germany; though it should eventually be available worldwide as well.
    Buy Apple MacBook Pro 15.6-Inch: 6-Core Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD MR942LL/A on Amazon.com
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    #8627

    Anandtech: AOC Unveils Cheap G1-Series Curved Displays with 144 Hz & FreeSync: Starti

    AOC this month formally introduced its G1-series of curved gaming displays, which offer premium features like 144 Hz FreeSync support at affordable prices. The new monitors start at $230 for a 24-inch model and top out at $400 for a 31.5-inch version, making these among the cheapest high refresh rate FreeSync monitors on the market.
    AOC’s G1 family will initially consist of four models: a 24-inch display, a 27-inch display, and two 32-inch displays. All four are based on 16:9 aspect ratio curved VA-type panels, and all of which similar specifications such as 250-nits peak brightness, a 3000:1 contrast ratio, 1 ms MPRT response times, and a 144 Hz refresh rate. The C24G1, C27G1, and C32G1 all run at a Full-HD (1920x1080) resolution, while the CQ32G1 goes one step further with WQHD (2560x1440).
    The key selling points for all of AOC’s G1 monitors are their ultra-low motion picture response time (keep in mind that MPRT response time is a different thing than GtG response time usually mentioned by display makers though), AMD’s FreeSync dynamic refresh rate technology, as well as a 144 Hz maximum refresh rate. AOC has yet to disclose the FreeSync ranges of the displays and whether they're wide enough to support AMD’s Low Frame Rate (LFC) capability; however it would be rather odd to see a 144Hz display that couldn't meet the relaively modest 2x range requirement. Meanwhile, the company’s previous-gen entry-level gaming monitors, which launched last year, supported LFC and had a very decent FreeSync range from 30 to 144 Hz.
    Meanwhile in order to bring in these gaming features to entry-level monitors, AOC did have to make some tradeoffs. In particular, they're using panels with relatively modest brightness ranges and pixel densities. For hardcore gamers after a fast monitor this isn't likely to be an issue, however someone with a more mixed gaming/productivity workload may find it's balanced towards the former and not the latter.
    When it comes to connectivity, all of AOC's G1 displays have three display inputs – a DisplayPort and two HDMI headers (to connect a PC and two game consoles) – as well as a 3.5-mm headphone jack, essentially keeping the number of connectors at a minimum. The manufacturer decided not to equip its G1 monitors with speakers or a USB hub since neither will be truly appreciated by the target audience.
    Specifications of AOC's G1 Series Gaming Displays
    C24G1 C27G1 C32G1 CQ32G1
    Panel 24" VA 27" VA 31.5" VA 31.5" VA
    Native Resolution 1920 × 1080 2560 × 1440
    Maximum Refresh Rate 144 Hz
    Dynamic Refresh Tech AMD FreeSync (LFC is not confirmed)
    Range 30 - 144 Hz (?)
    Brightness 250 cd/m² ?
    Contrast 3000:1 ?
    Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
    Response Time 1 ms MPRT
    Pixel Pitch 0.27156 mm² 0.3114 mm² 0.3637 mm² 0.2724 mm²
    Pixel Density 90 PPI 81 PPI 70 PPI 93 PPI
    Curvature 1500R 1800R
    Color Gamut Support sRGB
    Inputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.2
    2 × HDMI 1.4
    1 × D-Sub
    ?
    USB Hub - - - -
    Audio 3.5 mm Headphone Output ?
    Proprietary Enhancements AOC Flicker Free
    Power Consumption Idle 0.5 W ?
    Operating 20 W 23 W 50 W ?
    Stand Adjustments Tilt -4 ~ +21.5° -5 ~ +21.5° ?
    Swivel -34 ~ +34° - ?
    Height 130 mm - - ?
    Pivot - - ?
    VESA Mounts 100 × 100 mm
    Launch Timeframe Q4 2018 September 2018 Q4 2018 Q4 2018
    Additional Information Link Link Link -
    MSRP $230 $280 $300 $400
    AOC’s 27-inch C27G1 is available now for $280 from Amazon and Newegg. The other monitors are expected to hit the market in the fourth quarter, presumably in time for holiday season. The C24G1 will carry an MSRP of $230, whereas the larger C32G1 and CQ32G1 will be priced at $300 and $400, respectively.
    Buy AOC C27G1 on Amazon.com
    Related Reading:




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    #8628

    Anandtech: Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform for Smartwatches

    Qualcomm this week introduced its new platform designed for smartwatches based on Google’s Wear OS. The long anticipated Snapdragon Wear 3100 packs four general-purpose processing cores as well a special co-processor for low-power operations designed to prolong battery life of upcoming wearables. Communication capabilities of the platform include GPS, Wi-Fi+Bluetooth, as well as 4G/LTE, which is in line with features supported by direct predecessor.
    Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 (MSM8909w) is the company’s most powerful SoC for wearables that the company has released to date. Just like the Snapdragon Wear 2100 introduced in 2016, the new chip packs four ARM Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.2 GHz. Meanwhile, the latest SoC also integrates the company’s QCC1110 co-processor designed specifically for tasks that do not require serious compute horsepower, such as sensor processing in new modes to be supported by the upcoming version of Wear OS. The co-processor also has a deep learning engine for custom workloads like detection of keywords.
    Besides general-purpose cores and the co-processor, the SoC integrates Qualcomm’s Adreno 304 GPU that supports resolutions up to 640x×480 at 60 Hz as well as a high-performance DSP. As for communication capabilities, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform can support Qualcomm’s WCN3620 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth controller, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X5 4G/LTE modem, and GPS capabilities. Meanwhile, the company will offer three versions of the SW3100 targeting smartwatches with different comm features.
    Qualcomm says that it works closely with developers of Google’s Wear OS, so all the capabilities of the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform will be used by software eventually. In particular, the SW3100 will support three modes that will be a part of next-gen watches running the Wear OS, including the Enhanced Ambient Mode, Dedicated Sports Experiences, and Traditional Watch Mode. In all three cases the SW3100 will offload display and sensor processing from the Cortex-A7 and Adreno cores to the ultra-low-power co-processor, but will still be able to perform typical tasks for each mode (e.g., GPS and heart rate sensing for the sports mode).
    Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear SoCs
    Snapdragon Wear 1200 Snapdragon Wear 1100 Snapdragon Wear 2100 Snapdragon Wear 3100
    SoC Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz

    Fixed-function GPU
    Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz

    Fixed-function GPU
    4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz

    Adreno 304
    4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz

    QCC1110 co-processor

    Adreno 304
    Process Node 28nm LP 28nm LP 28nm LP ?
    RAM LPDDR2 LPDDR2 LPDDR3-800 MT/s LPDDR3 (?)
    Display Simple 2D UI Simple 2D UI Up to 640x480 @ 60fps
    Modem Qualcomm (Integrated)
    2G (E-GPRS) / LTE
    (Cat M1 & Cat NB1)
    Qualcomm (Integrated)
    2G / 3G / LTE (Category 1 10/5 Mbps)
    Qualcomm X5 (Integrated)
    2G / 3G / LTE (Category 4 150/50 Mbps)
    Connected version only
    Connectivity 802.11b/g/n/ac, BT 4.2 LE, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou 802.11b/g/n/ac, BT 4.1 LE, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou
    (Wi-Fi and BT optional)
    802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz),
    BT 4.1 LE, NFC, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou, USB 2.0
    Connected and Tethered versions
    Qualcomm claims that the QCCC1110 co-processor, the PMW3100 power management sub-system, and other enhancements of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 will help to reduce the SoC's power consumption rather significantly. The net benefit from this, according to Qualcomm, is that device makers will be able to prolong the battery life of their devices by 4 to 12 hours when compared to the previous-generation Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform.
    Qualcomm says that mass production of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 had already started, as have shipments to customers. The first companies to adopt the new SoC are Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc.
    As is usually the case for the chip vendor, Qualcomm is not disclosing when their customers intend to release their SW3100-powered watches to consumers. However what we're hearing from other sources is that the first watches should hit store shelves next month, in which case we're looking at a relatively quick turnaround time here.
    Related Reading:


    Source: Qualcomm


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    #8629

    Anandtech: YouTube Publishes First Videos Transcoded Using AV1

    YouTube has uploaded about a dozen videos that were transcoded using the AV1 codec, whcih was introduced earlier this year. The test sequences are expected to give Google as well as developers of browsers, decoders, and encoders an understanding how to better use the new royalty-free codec.
    To date, YouTube has added 14 videos transcoded using the AV1 codec to a special playlist. The list includes various types of content, including a talking-head program, musical clips, action videos, and demo footages from RED and Blackmagic Design. YouTube says that this type of content represents a large share of videos hosted by the service, so it makes a lot of sense for the company to learn how they behave on various devices in terms of performance, power consumption, and overall stability.
    At present, AV1 support is available only in those Chrome 70 and Firefox Nightly builds released after September 12th. Meanwhile, the test videos use AV1 for resolutions that are lower than 480p, underscoring the fact that they are meant to test decoders that, for the moment, are going to be anything but optimized. This is on top of the fact that at the moment there are no hardware decoders that support AV1, so everything is being handled in software by the CPU to begin with. Eventually the codec will be used for content in 4K+ ultra-high-def resolutions, along with HDR and wide color gamuts.
    Finally, YouTube is promising to expand the collection of AV1-transcoded videos over time.
    Related Reading:


    Gallery: YouTube Publishes First Videos Transcoded Using AV1




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    #8630

    Anandtech: The NVIDIA Turing GPU Architecture Deep Dive: Prelude to GeForce RTX

    It’s been roughly a month since NVIDIA's Turing architecture was revealed, and if the GeForce RTX 20-series announcement a few weeks ago has clued us in on anything, is that real time raytracing was important enough for NVIDIA to drop “GeForce GTX” for “GeForce RTX” and completely change the tenor of how they talk about gaming video cards. Since then, it’s become clear that Turing and the GeForce RTX 20-series have a lot of moving parts: RT Cores, real time raytracing, Tensor Cores, AI features (i.e. DLSS), raytracing APIs. All of it coming together for a future direction of both game development and GeForce cards.
    In a significant departure from past launches, NVIDIA has broken up the embargos around the unveiling of their latest cards into two parts: architecture and performance. For the first part, today NVIDIA has finally lifted the veil on much of the Turing architecture details, and there are many. So many that there are some interesting aspects that have yet to be explained, and some that we’ll need to dig into alongside objective data. But it also gives us an opportunity to pick apart the namesake of GeForce RTX: raytracing.


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