3D News, GL, DirectX Archive

Nvidia adds FreeSync support to its GPUs, but not for all monitors

FreeSync support is coming to Nvidia; at its CES event today, Nvidia announced the GSync-Compatible program, wherein it says it will test monitors that support the VESA DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync protocol to ascertain whether they deliver a “baseline experience” comparable to a GSync monitor. Coincidentally, AMD’s FreeSync utilizes the same VESA-developed implementation, meaning that several FreeSync-certified monitors will now be compatible with Nvidia’s 10- and 20-series GPUs. This is great news, since GSync support requires additional hardware and this increases prices; you’ll find that the GSync version of a display is always significantly more expensive than the FreeSync version.

Announcing PhysX SDK 4.0, an open-source physics engine

NVIDIA is proud to announce PhysX SDK 4.0, available on December 20, 2018. The engine has been upgraded to provide industrial grade simulation quality at game simulation performance. In addition, PhysX SDK has gone open source, starting today with version 3.4! It is available under the simple 3-Clause BSD license. With access to the source code, developers can debug, customize and extend the PhysX SDK as they see fit.

I'm not well-versed enough in this area to gauge how big of a deal this news it, but regardless, it seems like a good contribution to the open source community.

Nvidia created the first game demo using AI-generated graphics

The recent boom in artificial intelligence has produced impressive results in a somewhat surprising realm: the world of image and video generation. The latest example comes from chip designer Nvidia, which today published research showing how AI-generated visuals can be combined with a traditional video game engine. The result is a hybrid graphics system that could one day be used in video games, movies, and virtual reality.

Impressive technology. I can see how this will eventually make it a lot easier to generate graphics for 'realistic' games.

NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture deep dive: prelude to 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.

AnandTech's deep dive into NVIDIA's new Turing architecture - the only one you really need.

NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, 2070 officially released

NVIDIA announced its new Turing video cards for gaming today, including the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070. The cards move forward with an upgraded-but-familiar Volta architecture, with some changes to the SMs and memory. The new RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti ship with reference cards first, and partner cards about 1-3 months after that, depending on which partner it is. The board partners did not receive pricing or even card naming until around the same time as media, so expect delays in custom solutions.

A major upgrade, and pricing - starting at $599 for the 2070 - is entirely reasonable for a new generation. Might finally be time to upgrade my 1070 once EK Waterblocks releases waterblocks for these new cards.

NVIDIA reveals next-gen Turing GPU architecture

Moments ago at NVIDIA's SIGGRAPH 2018 keynote presentation, company CEO Jensen Huang formally unveiled the company's much awaited (and much rumored) Turing GPU architecture. The next generation of NVIDIA's GPU designs, Turing will be incorporating a number of new features and is rolling out this year. While the focus of today's announcements is on the professional visualization (ProViz) side of matters, we expect to see this used in other upcoming NVIDIA products as well. And by the same token, today's reveal should not be considered an exhaustive listing of all of Turing's features.

If you've been holding off on upgrading a 10x0 or earlier card, you're about to be rewarded - at Gamescom next week, NVIDIA is expected to unveil the consumer cards based on the Turing architecture.

AMD embraces open source to take on Nvidia’s GameWorks

AMD's position in the graphics market continues to be a tricky one. Although the company has important design wins in the console space - both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are built around AMD CPUs with integrated AMD GPUs - its position in the PC space is a little more precarious. Nvidia currently has the outright performance lead, and perhaps more problematically, many games are to a greater or lesser extent optimized for Nvidia GPUs. One of the chief culprits here is Nvidia's GameWorks software, a proprietary library of useful tools for game development - things like realistic hair and shadows, and physics processing for destructible environments - that is optimized for Nvidia's cards. When GameWorks games are played on AMD systems, they can often do so with reduced performance or graphical quality.

To combat this, AMD is today announcing GPUOpen, a comparable set of tools to GameWorks. As the name would suggest, however, there's a key difference between GPUOpen and GameWorks: GPUOpen will, when it is published in January, be open source. AMD will use the permissive MIT license, allowing GPUOpen code to be used without any practical restriction in both open and closed source applications, and will publish all code on GitHub.

Great move by AMD, and definitely a step up from Nvidia's questionable closed tactics that only seem to harm users. HotHardware has more information on AMD's extensive plans.

Microsoft unveils DirectX 12

DirectX 12 introduces the next version of Direct3D, the graphics API at the heart of DirectX. Direct3D is one of the most critical pieces of a game or game engine, and we've redesigned it to be faster and more efficient than ever before. Direct3D 12 enables richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware. And it isn’t just for high-end gaming PCs either - Direct3D 12 works across all the Microsoft devices you care about. From phones and tablets, to laptops and desktops, and, of course, Xbox One, Direct3D 12 is the API you've been waiting for.

It's great that DirectX works across "phones and tablets, to laptops and desktops, and, of course, Xbox One", but an important adjective is missing here: Windows. With Microsoft playing little to no role in smartphone and tablets, and the desktop/laptop market being on hold, how much of a plus is DirectX on phones and tablets, really? Doesn't Windows Phone's and Windows 8 Metro's reliance on it only make it harder for game developers and houses to port their iOS and Android games over?

Nvidia seeks peace with Linux

Few companies have been the target of as much criticism in the Linux community as Nvidia. Linus Torvalds himself last year called Nvidia the "single worst company" Linux developers have ever worked with, giving the company his middle finger in a public talk.

Nvidia is now trying to get on Linux developers' good side. Yesterday, Nvidia's Andy Ritger e-mailed developers of Nouveau, an open source driver for Nvidia cards that is built by reverse engineering Nvidia's proprietary drivers. Ritger wrote that "NVIDIA is releasing public documentation on certain aspects of our GPUs, with the intent to address areas that impact the out-of-the-box usability of NVIDIA GPUs with Nouveau. We intend to provide more documentation over time, and guidance in additional areas as we are able."

It wouldn't surprise me if this is related to the SteamOS announcement.

HTC Buys S3 Graphics, Gets Patents Apple Is Infringing

More patent news? Sorry, but for some reason, there's a spike in patent, trademark, and related news this week - not entirely unsurprising considering it's earnings season. HTC, currently under attack from Apple and a recent signer of Microsoft patent agreement regarding Android, has bought S3 Graphics... For the patents. Patents Apple has already been found infringing upon.

Mozilla Rejects Microsoft’s WebGL Criticism

"Mozilla's VP of Technical Strategy, Mike Shaver has rejected Microsoft's criticism of WebGL in which it said it would not implement the 3D graphics standard because of security issues in the design. Shaver says that "there is no question that the web needs 3D capabilities" to enable developers to create "advanced visualisations, games or new user interfaces" and points at Molehill (Adobe's 3D for Flash) and Microsoft's Silverlight 3D which are offering just those capabilities." One discussion of Microsofts WebGL criticism can be found here.

Microsoft’s 3-D Strategy

Microsoft has joined the wave of companies betting that 3-D is the next big thing for computing. At a recent talk at MIT, chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie said he sees the technology as an innovation that "will get people out of treating a computer as a tool" and into treating the device as a natural extension of how they interact with the world around them. Microsoft plans to introduce consumers to the change through its gaming products, but Mundie outlined a vision that would eventually have people shopping and searching in 3-D as well.

New Implementation Direct3D 11 COM API for Gallium

"Luca Barbieri made a rather significant commit today that adds a state tracker dubbed 'd3d1x', which implements the Direct3D 10/11 COM API in Gallium3D. Luca says this is just the initial version, but it's already working and can run a few DirectX 10/11 texturing demos on Linux at the moment. This is not a matter of simply translating the Direct3D calls and converting them to OpenGL like how Wine currently handles it, but is natively implemented within Gallium3D and TGSI to speak directly to the underlying graphics driver and hardware. Thanks to Gallium3D's architecture, this Direct3D support essentially becomes 'free' to all Linux drivers with little to no work required."

OpenGL 4.0 Announced

"Khronos Group, the association behind OpenGL, has today announced the fourth generation of its cross-platform API spec, which takes up the mantle of offering a viable competitor to Microsoft's DirectX 11. The latest release includes two new shader stages for offloading geometry tessellation from the CPU to the GPU, as well as tighter integration with OpenCL to allow the graphics card to take up yet more duties off the typically overworked processor."

NVIDIA Has Gallium3D Support in Fedora 13

"Fedora started out by shipping the Nouveau DDX driver, then turned to kernel mode-setting support that has matured and is used by default with the current Fedora 12 release. With Fedora 13, Red Hat is again shipping with the latest free software NVIDIA bits, which now includes 3D support. Thanks to an update to the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package, there is 3D/OpenGL support enabled for NVIDIA hardware. This 3D support is coming from Nouveau's Gallium3D driver for most of the NVIDIA graphics hardware while there is also a classic Mesa driver for old NV hardware that recently came about. Yes, there is finally a deployed Nouveau-NVIDIA Gallium3D driver that will be easily deployable out in the wild with Fedora 13."