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NVIDIA RTX Direct Illumination adds a million dynamic lights

1 hour ago
Last week, NVIDIA revealed its RTX Direct Illumination technology. This new SDK for game developers promises to make it possible to integrate millions of dynamic, ray traced lights into game environments -- without having to worry about performance or resource constraints.

RTXDI can make any object in a game emit light and cast dynamic shadows, it's a technique that replaces all other shadow and ambient occlusion techniques. The technique works on all video cards that support DirectX or Vulkan ray tracing, so at least theoretically, AMD or Intel cards could support it too. A plug-in for Unreal Engine 4 is on the way.

NVIDIA promises RTXDI will remove the limit on the number of lights artists can use to author a real-time game environment. Allegedly, the performance cost between a couple of hundreds or several millions of light sources is very similar when using RTXDI:
RTX Direct Illumination promises to forego the so-called 'hero lights' phenomenon in games, where only a few select light sources were actually casting shadows. This will enable much more realistic scenes. But what about performance? Well, according to RTX UE4 Game Engine Evangelist Richard Cowgill, with RTXDI it shouldn't really matter if you need dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of lights; the cost is expected to be about the same. As a result, the performance should essentially flatten and be more consistent, particularly with NVIDIA DLSS enabled. -- WCCF Tech
Here are the main benefits, according to NVIDIA:
True Geometry For Lights
No more need for fake proxies. A more realistic simulation allows artists to create environments that approach photorealism. Lights with complex shapes, such as neon signs, work as they do in the real world.

Works as an Oracle for Shadow Rays
RTXDI tells the renderer where to send rays. Reducing the manual tuning required to light scenes will improve the efficiency of any art pipeline.

No More Hero Lights
Every light is a shadow caster. Scenes look richer and more grounded. Real-time renderings now reach the complexity level that only baked backgrounds previously allowed.

Built to be Paired with RTXGI
Can be combined with RTXGI for fast and scalable global illumination with many lights. RTXDI provides great results on its own, while amplifying the value of other NVIDIA ray tracing SDKs.

There is also a new RTX showcase demo, you can get it over here. This tech demo uses the Unreal Engine 4 and incorporates RTX Global Illumination (RTXGI), RTX Direct Illumination (RTXDI), NVIDIA Real-Time Denoiser (NRD), and NVIDIA DLSS.

Shipping pallet with MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti gets spotted

1 hour ago
For over half a year, rumors have been circulating about a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti video card from NVIDIA. The launch got pushed back further and further, and the specifications have changed several times. Now there's finally concrete evidence that a launch is getting near.

MSI RTX 3080 Ti Ventus spotted in transist

VideoCardz came across a photo that shows a batch of MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Ventus cards on a shipping pallet:
A shipment of new MSI graphics cards is heading to Los Angeles. Large boxes with GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3090, Radeon RX 580, and even GeForce GT 710 are heading to the USA. Interestingly one of the boxes also features yet unreleased GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Ventus 3X OC mode.
The shipping label confirms these GeForce RTX 3080 Ti cards feature 12GB GDDR6X memory. The RTX 3080 Ti is expected to feature the GA102-225 GPU with 10240 CUDA cores. The launch is expected in May. It's unknown how much the card will cost. The official MSRP of the RTX 3080 is $699, while the RTX 3090 costs $1,499 on paper. But of course, with the current GPU shortages, these suggested retail prices are far removed from reality.

MSI RTX 3080 Ti on pallet

Intel Graphics driver fixes Cyberpunk 2077 issues

1 hour ago
INTC logo
Just before the weekend, Intel pushed out its Graphics driver version This edition fixes some Cyberpunk 2077 related bugs and has optimizations for NieR Replicant. There's also a long list of bug fixes. Curiously, despite the bug fixes for Cyberpunk 2077, Intel explicitly warns you shouldn't expect more than 20fps in this game On Intel Iris Xe graphics. Basically, unplayable. You can grab the driver over here.
  • Intermittent crash or hang seen in Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12), Ridge Racer Unbounded, StarCraft 2, Horizon Zero Dawn (DX12).
  • Minor graphic anomalies seen on main character during character creation in Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12).
  • Minor graphic anomalies seen on floor when graphics quality is set to High in Valorant.
  • Black squares seen after cutscenes with Video Quality Profile set to High in Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Vulkan).
  • Minor graphic anomalies seen in Battlefield I (DX11) and Valheim (Vulkan) (loading screen).
  • Lag observed while playing a 4K/2K/ Full HD video in 8K60 Tiled mode with application window maximized.
  • MST side monitors will not display after unplug DP switch side monitor and plug to MST side.
  • Fourth display cannot light on in second screen only mode when four displays are connected via DP in daisy chain.
  • Video freezes and lags when playing movie in Movies and TV application and zooming in / out by double clicks.
  • Video will freeze when exit from full screen to small window during video playback.
  • 8K monitor keeps blinking in extend mode/ 2nd only mode.
  • Video will show lag or garbage observed in full screen mode with 8K monitor connected.
  • 8K monitor is inactive after upgrade to latest graphics driver.
  • Half display may blank out when rebooting with 4K single Tiled display connected via Display Port.
  • Green color corruption observed while rotating media playback. /blockquotE>
  • Are SSDs the next target of cryptocurrency miners?

    2 hours ago
    With cryptocurrencies trading near record highs, the demand for GPUs from miners remains sky high. This comes on top of a supply and demand situation that was already out of balance -- resulting in very little decently priced cards to be found for gamers. Now word is going around that the storage market may be heating up too.

    Chia -- mining on storage devices

    TweakTown pulls our attention to Chia, a new cryptocurrency invented by BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen. One of the big problems of most cryptocurrencies is that a ton of power is required for mining. This makes cryptocurrency mining polluting and it can also cause power grid issues in areas where mining is prevelant. Roughly two-thirds of mining is concentrated in China and University of Cambridge researchers estimate Bitcoin alone amounts for roughly 0.58 percent of global electricity consumption. It's more than countries like Norway and Argentina.

    The energy issue is what prompted Cohen to search for an alternative. His coin doesn't use a proof of work model but a proof of space and time model. Chia mining is performed on storage devices like HDDs and SSDs. One of the advantages here is that far less power is consumed to mine Chia.

    But as TweakTown reports, the side effect is that as Chia becomes more popular, miners are buying up HDDs and SSDs in bulk. In China, prices of storage disks are already spiking and it's getting harder to find product:
    Jiahe Jinwei is one of the largest domestic manufacturers in China, and when speaking with MyDrivers the company said that their 1TB and 2TB high-performance NVMe SSDs are completely sold out. The company has now had to resort to stopping crypto miners from securing all of their consumer-focused SSDs -- also forcing the company to boost production in order to meet demand -- as well as a tease that Jiahe Jinwei is now making a crypto mining friendly SSD... uhhh.
    If SSDs soon become a lot more expensive -- this could be the reason.

    Antec P82 Silent has noise dampening side panels

    2 days ago
    Another P-series case from Antec. The new P82 Silent focuses on low noise and has side panels lined with noise-dampening foam. Design is kept rather minimalistic and the case ships with three 120mm fans.

    It's a steel mid-tower case that measures 454 x 215 x 480 mm(DxWxH) and weighs 7kg. The interior supports a Mini-ITX to ATX sized motherboard, seven expansion slots, two 3.5" HDDs, up to four 2.5" SSDs (two converted from 3.5"), a maximum of four 120/140mm fans, a radiator of up to 360mm, a GPU of up to 380mm long, a PSU with a length of maximum 220mm, and a CPU cooler with a height of up to 178mm.

    The front and bottom have a dust filter -- which should aid with keeping less dust from creeping into the case. A front I/O panel provides access to HD Audio ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a basic fan speed controller. For the full specifications, you can check the product page I linked above. The P82 Silent should ship soon for around 82.99EUR.
    The design of P82 Silent is base on the concept of minimalism. With a white LED power-on light, ample diagonal stripes ventilation on the front panel, fan speed control button (High / Stop / Low) and 2 x 120 mm fan in the front & 1 x 120 mm in the rear, the P82 Silent is ready to help you to build the powerful system.
    p82 silent

    p82 silent

    Chinese memory maker promises 10,000MHz DDR5

    2 days ago
    WCCF Tech reports Chinese memory maker Netac is already talking about DDR5 gaming modules with a frequency of 10,000MHz!

    The first DDR5 memory modules will have a frequency of 4800MHz and word has been going around for some time now that the new memory will have far greater room for voltage adjustment, which may result in better overclocking. Part of the reason here is that DDR5 has on-board voltage conversion, this task is no longer handled by the motherboard, which reduces voltage wear and noise generation.

    Netac received samples of the Micron IFA45 Z9ZSB DDR5 memory and sees a path to 10,000MHz. Of course, it's unlikely these modules will be offered anytime soon. It will likely take quite some time until DDR5 is mature enough to see that kind of frequencies.
    Netac currently offers a few DDR4 memory products but they are claiming to offer gaming-grade DDR5 memory with speeds beyond 10,000 MHz. It will be interesting to see Netac achieve this as DDR5's native speeds will 4800 MHz and to go to 10,000 MHz means to offer twice the speeds. It's not impossible since DDR4 memory started at 2133 MHz and we have seen several manufacturers offering kits that are rated at up to DDR4-5333 MHz that can further be pushed beyond DDR4-6000 MHz with some overclocking expertise.
     IFA45 Z9ZSB

    TSMC capex soars to $30 billion this year

    3 days ago
    TSMC logo
    At the start of the year, TSMC anticipated its capital expenditure would total $28 billion this year. Due to the continued high semiconductor chip demand, the Taiwanese foundry has once again upgraded this target. TSMC now projects capex of $30 billion this year -- up from $17.2 billion in 2020!

    Most of it going to advanced nodes

    EE Times writes the bulk of the capex is going to cutting-edge nodes.
    TSMC said during a conference call with analysts that it upgraded the target in order to meet increasing demand for advanced and specialty technologies in the next several years. About 80% of the budget will go to leading process technologies, including 3nm, 5nm and 7nm, with the remaining 10% earmarked for advanced packaging and mask making, and about 10% for specialty technologies.

    “We are witnessing a structural increase in underlying semiconductor demand as a multi-year megatrend of 5G and HPC (high-performance computing)-related applications are expected to fuel strong demand for our advanced technologies in the next several years,” TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said on the call. “Covid-19 has also fundamentally accelerated the digital transformation, making semiconductors more pervasive and essential in people’s lives.”
    Over the next three years, TSMC expects to invest about $100 billion to increase production capacity and boost R&D.

    4nm and 3nm in 2022

    TSMC said its 4nm process, a refined version of its 5nm node, will hit volume production in 2022. The first commercial production on 3nm is expected in the second half of 2022.

    Fab tools are skyrocketing

    In related news, AnandTech has an interesting overview about fab tool sales. These are the tools that are used by semiconductor foundries and chip makers. Sales of semiconductor production equipment hit an all-time record of $71.19 billion last year, up 19 percent year-over-year.

    It's probably no surprise that Asian countries are buying up most fab tools -- not only due to the presence of TSMC in Taiwan and Samsung in South Korea, but also because of China's drive to become more self-reliant in terms of semiconductor production.

    One interesting line in here is that despite the boom in semiconductor fab tool sales, the US is falling behind. Europe did buy a bit more fab tools -- but its share of the pie is very small, even compared to the US. If the US and Europe want to become bigger players in the global semiconductor market, a lot more investment will be needed to jumpstart domestic production.
    Meanwhile, tool purchases by American fabs actually dropped by 20% versus the previous year, sinking to $6.53 billion for 2020. The US is still the runaway leader for chip design, so the drop serves to widen the gap between how much is designed in the country versus how little is fabbed there. Overall it looks like the tables are going to turn in the coming years as Intel, Samsung Foundry, and TSMC begin to equip their new fabs in the USA; but for now, fab tool shipments are down significantly.
    Fab tool sales chart

    NVIDIA prepping more GPU revisions with hash rate limiter?

    3 days ago
    NVDA logo
    Yesterday news hit the wire about a new GA106-306 GPU revision from NVIDIA. This chip would allegedly introduce a new and more advanced hash rate limiter to make the GeForce RTX 3060 less attractive to cryptocurrency miners. NVIDIA tries to make this model less attractive for mining purposes by implementing an algorithm that roughly cuts the performance in half when it detects Ethereum mining. Unfortunately, NVIDIA accidentally released driver code that bypassed the hash rate limiter, resulting in the need for a new chip revision.

    Now word is going around that other NVIDIA Ampere GPUs may get a revision too. Well-informed Twitter leaker kopite7kimi claims NVIDIA may also be working on new variants of the GA104 and G102. Basically, if this is true, this means a hash rate limiter is on the way for the GeForce RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090 lineups.

    Rumors about these revisions have been circulating since February so it will be interesting to see if NVIDIA is indeed doubling down on its anti-mining effort for the GeForce cards. In the meantime, the company is pushing CMPs for miners and that effort is turning out to be more succesful than the green team expected.

    G.Skill Trident Z Royal Elite Series DDR4 memory goes up to 5333MHz

    3 days ago
    With DDR5 on the horizon, memory makers are still pushing out new DDR4 memory kits. Towards the end of this year, we'll see the first platform with DDR5 support but that doesn't mean DDR4 will disappear instantaneously. DDR4 is very mature right now and we're seeing very high frequencies from a variety of manufacturers. G.Skill for example just rolled out a new Trident Z Royal Elite Series DDR4 Memory series that includes a 5333MHz model! These kits will ship in May, pricing is unknown.

    Trident Z Royal Elite Series DDR4 Memory

    Trident Z Royal Elite Series DDR4 Memory specifications
    G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is announcing a new addition of high-performance DDR4 memory kit series to the renowned Trident Z family – the Trident Z Royal Elite series. Featuring a meticulously sculpted crystalline pattern across the polished surface of the aluminum heatspreader, the Trident Z Royal Elite also retains the patented full-length crystalline light bar and 8-zone RGB lighting of the Trident Z Royal to enhance the aesthetics of any high-end PC system build. Representing the upper echelon of DDR4 performance, the G.SKILL Trident Z Royal Elite will be available at speeds of DDR4-3600 to DDR4-5333 at launch.

    Crafted for Magnificence
    Evolved from the luxury-class design elements of the Trident Z Royal, G.SKILL is introducing the all-new Trident Z Royal Elite series that features a magnificent multi-faceted crystalline design across the reflective aluminum heatspreader. After more than a year of development in crafting the perfectly-sized crystalline pattern and sculpting the 3D structure onto a solid piece of aluminum, each Trident Z Royal Elite heatspreader is painstakingly chiseled with 76 total facets to bestow the ultimate luxury aesthetic to any PC build. Available in gold or silver colors, Trident Z Royal Elite modules also inherited the iconic full-length crystalline light bar for a dazzling refractive display of RGB lighting.

    Enduring Legacy of High Performance
    Continuing the ongoing G.SKILL legacy for fast DDR4 memory performance, the Trident Z Royal Elite offers high-class memory specifications that range from DDR4-3600 to DDR4-5333 and offers 16GB (8GBx2) to 64GB (32GBx2) in kit capacity at launch. Each memory kit is constructed from hand-screened memory IC chips and tested for compatibility across a wide range of motherboards to ensure stability and high-frequency overclocked performance.

    Viper VP4300 PCIe 4.0 SSD promises up to 7400MB/s

    4 days ago
    Patriot reveals its Viper VP4300, a new M.2 2280 form factor PCI Express 4.0 SSD that uses the Innogrit IG5236 SSD controller.

    The model uses 3D TLC NAND flash memory and is offered in 1TB and 2TB capacities. The promised performance is very high, Patriot cites 7400MB/s read speeds. The 1TB model can do 5500MB/s writes and the 2TB edition kicks this up to 6800MB/s. Both SKUs promise 4K read and write operations of up to 800K IOPS.

    The package comes with two heatspreaders; a thin graphene heatshield and a slightly bigger aluminum heatspreader.
    Users can choose between an asymmetric and unique aluminum heatshield design, giving users an edgy build, or a one time use graphene heatshield to ensure excellent thermal dissipation to avoid overheating for tight spaces. The VP4300 solid state drive is perfect for a compact build and slim fit for high-performance PC solutions while maintaining its multifunctional capabilities. Supported by a 5-year warranty, the VP4300 solid state drive also includes Advance Flash Management and multi-features while advancing current market speeds. Take the lead on the latest solid state drive technology. Unlock the next league of SSD performance with the Viper VP4300 and boost your game to the extreme!
    The Viper VP4300 M.2 disks feature a 5-year warranty. The company did not reveal pricing but promises the disks will be priced competitively.

    TSMC logo

    Powercolor offers Radeon RX 6900 XT ULTIMATE Red Devil and Liquid Devil with Navi 21 XTXH

    4 days ago
    Two new high-end video cards from Powercolor, the firm has Red Devil and Liquid Devil versions of its Radeon RX 6900 XT ULTIMATE. These cards use the higher-binned Navi 21 XTXH GPUs. This new variant runs stable at higher frequencies and has a higher GPU power limit value. The Red Devil version has a stock Boost clockspeed of 2425MHz (+7.8%) and the new Liquid Devil kicks it up to 2480MHz (+10.2%).

    Highly Binned GPUs
    Every overclocker knows that every GPU is different; sometimes, one can get lucky and find a card that can be highly overclocked due to the silicon lottery. With the PowerColor RED DEVIL ULTIMATE and LIQUID DEVIL ULTIMATE cards, you remove the element of chance and guarantee a specially binned GPU with exceptional overclocking – PowerColor assures performance every time.

    The Sky is the Limit
    No longer shackled by clock limitations with AMD’s Overclocking tool; if your card allows, the sky is your limit. With an optimized VBIOS for overclocking, there is enough juice to push the GPU with 332 Watts of Power for the LIQUID DEVIL ULTIMATE and 303Watts for the RED DEVIL ULTIMATE AMD Radeon™ RX 6900 XT unleash power like never before.

    State of the Art PCB
    In order to be able to sustain the highest clocks with heavy power load while maintaining reliability, PowerColor RED DEVIL and LIQUID DEVIL AMD RADEON™ RX 6900 XT ULTIMATE models come with a powerful VRM configuration of 16 phases using only the industry’s best DrMOS deployment, combined with high polymer capacitors delivering greater performance and power stability.

    The Best of Both Worlds
    The Ultimate in Radeon™ GPU technology will be available on the highly awarded RED DEVIL and LIQUID DEVIL AMD Radeon™ RX 6900 XT series, which is suitable for either air-cooled setups or custom water-cooled PC’s, gamers are assured the best of the best with an Ultimate card choice.
    Source: VideoCardz

    Thermalright goes dark with the Peerless Assassin 120 Black HSF

    4 days ago
    Lately, Thermalright has been pumping out one new cooler a week. This time the firm introduces the Peerless Assassin 120 Black, a dark-themed version of the Peerless Assassin 120. This model has two tower fin arrays and two fans.

    The new HSF features six 6mm heatpipes and a nickel-plated copper base. The heatsink measures 125mm x 135mm x 157mm (L x W x H) and weighs 750g without fans.

    There are 53 aluminum fins, which are actively cooled by two Thermalright TL-C12B 120mm fans. The fans weigh 135g so the total weight of this cooler is 1020g. Each PWM fan spins at up to 1550RPM and offers up to 66.17CFM of airflow, a maximum static pressure of 1.53mmH2O, and a noise level of up to 25.6dBA.

    Mounting tools are included for Intel LGA115x/2011/-3/2066/1200 and AMD Socket AM4 CPUs. The pricing and availability is unknown.

    Peerless Assassin 120 Black

    Peerless Assassin 120 Black

    TSMC factory hit by electricity outage

    4 days ago
    TSMC logo
    Another setback for chip production as TSMC's Fab-14A got hit by a power outage. Reuters reports construction work accidentally severed an underground power line yesterday morning. Some of TSMC's machines at the plant were able to run on backup power but the operation didn't fully resume until evening.
    TSMC, the world's largest contract chip maker, said its facility experienced a power outage due to "an abnormality with a power line to the South Taiwan Science Park extra high voltage substation".

    "Personnel in the fab were not evacuated. Power was restored the same day. TSMC is currently evaluating the impact," it said in a statement to Reuters.
    TSMC's Fab-14A focuses on the production of mature nodes, so cutting-edge chips are not affected. Production of 40/45nm and 90nm got affected. Among other things, Fab-14A makes chips for car makers -- an industry hit particularly hard by the global chip shortages.

    TSMC warns chip shortages will continue into 2022

    In related news, TSMC published its first-quarter results. First-quarter profit was up 19.4 percent thanks to the continued high demand for semiconductor chips. TSMC says it's doing what it can to alleviate the chip shortages, but warns the problem will persist into next year. TSMC also promises automotive chip clients that the situation will be greatly improved from the next quarter:
    Its business was boosted by the chip shortage that initially forced automakers to cut production, but is now also hurting manufacturers of smartphones, laptops and even appliances. On Thursday, TSMC said it expects the chip shortage for its auto clients to be greatly reduced from the next quarter.

    Windows 10 Timeline feature gets downgraded -- and Windows 10 (ARM) now runs on Apple M1

    4 days ago
    MSFT logo
    Neowin noticed Microsoft is winding down Timeline. First shown four years ago, Timeline was touted as a big deal as focused on letting you access files and websites from the past 30 days, not only on your PC but on other devices too.

    No more syncing between devices

    With the launch of the latest Windows 10 Insiders build, support for Timeline is winding down as Microsoft is disabling the ability to upload Timeline data from a Windows 10 PC. The implication here is that Microsoft is breaking the continuity between devices -- one of the features the software giant hyped up when it launched Timeline.
    With today's Insider build, Microsoft's focus on continuity between devices seems to grow even weaker, though Microsoft correctly points out that many browsers already offer features like history and open tabs syncing, including its Chromium-based Edge browser. Recent Office files can also be found in the Office and OneDrive apps on different devices, but Microsoft is shying away from the all-encompassing implementation it had before.

    Parallels enables Windows 10 on ARM support for Apple M1

    In related news, Apple's M1-based computers now support the ARM-based version of Windows 10. Not natively of course, but users who desire this feature can now run a Windows 10 on ARM virtual machine via Parallels Desktop 16.5.

    Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support, says this feature has been beta tested by over 100,000 M1 Mac users. Besides Windows 10 on ARM, it's now also possible to run ARM-based versions of Linux on the M1 via the Parallels software.
    We are beyond thankful for the feedback of more than 100,000 M1 Mac users that tested the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Mac. They ran Microsoft’s Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview, as well as tens of thousands of different Intel-based Windows applications—including Microsoft Office for Windows, Microsoft Visual Studio, SQL Server, Microsoft PowerBI and MetaTrader.

    “We received enthusiastic feedback about the remarkable performance of both the Technical Preview of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for M1 Mac and Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview as well as x86 applications and games, including Rocket League, Among Us, Roblox, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Sam & Max Save the World and many others. Testers loved Parallels Desktop’s easy-to-use features and seamless integration of Windows with macOS Big Sur, which increases productivity,” said Dobrovolskiy.
    The only catch is that Microsoft doesn't sell Windows 10 on ARM licenses, so you need to use an Insider build.



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