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Stardock CEO on DirectX 12: 4-5x performance improvement over DX11

We've heard some great quotes from the CEO of Stardock, Brad Wardell before, but in his latest interview with Niche Gamer, he had some surprising things to say about DirectX 12.

 

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During his interview, he had his attention most from the Game Developers Conference, where Wardell replied with "For me, it's the tech, what is going to be the tech story that comes out of here? What I hope most users get, I've had a lot of meetings with Microsoft, AMD, and a little bit of NVIDIA and Intel - they really need to hit home the fact that DirectX 12, Vulkan, and Mantle, allow all of the cores of your CPU to talk to the video card simultaneously".

 

"But everyone's really iffy about that, because that means acknowledging that for the past several years, only one of your cores was talking to the GPU, and no one wants to go 'You know by the way, you know that multi-core GPU? It was useless for your games.' Alright? No one wants to be that guy," he continued. Wardell also added: "People wonder, saying 'Gosh, doesn't it seem like PC games have stalled? I wonder why that is?' Well, the speed of a single core on a computer has not changed in years. It's been at 3GHz, or 2-something GHz for years, I mean that's not the only thing that affects the speed, but you get the idea. Now, with DirectX 12, Vulkan, and Mantle, it's how many cores you've got. We've got lots of those. Suddenly, you go by 4x, 5x, the performance".

 

It's interesting, as he seems to think that we're going to receive an injection of performance from the CPU side of things, where I think we'll see a huge boost when graphics engines change over to DX12 and we're running those DX12-capable games, in native DX12 on Windows 10. That's when we're going to see a huge lid taken off of PC gaming and its performance. Right now, the performance is being held back because if they made games on PC and ported them down to consoles, the PC version of the game would look nothing like the console version - that's how much better it would look.

 

That's not even going into the performance side of things. If games were made on PCs and not made on consoles and ported over to PCs, and were to utilize all of the horsepower we have in a mid-range GPU let alone a GeForce GTX 980 or Titan X, or dare we say it - SLI or Crossfire setup - it would destroy the consoles. The PC version would look like a proper 'current-gen' title while the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the same game would look like the Xbox or PS2 version.

 

All hail the #pcmasterrace.

Microsoft reveals Windows 10 hardware requirements for the desktop

Microsoft today confirmed some of the hardware requirements to run the desktop version of Windows 10, after it is released this summer. The following slide doesn't outline everything required to run the OS, but discusses memory, storage, graphics, screen size and firmware requirements.

 

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The current Windows 10 technical preview requires the following: 1 GHz CPU or faster; 1 GB RAM (for 32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (for 64-bit), 16GB storage capacity, Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver or better; and a Microsoft account along with Internet access.

Microsoft fighting Windows piracy by upgrading pirates to Windows 10

To help fight piracy in China, Microsoft plans to upgrade users to Windows 10, even if they are currently running a pirated copy of the operating system.

 

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The announcement was made during the WinHEC technology conference in China, where Terry Myerson, OS unit boss at Microsoft, said the company wants to "re-engage" with users.

 

Software piracy in China has been a major issue for Microsoft and others - with very few effective methods to convince users to purchase legal software. The free upgrade to Windows 10, however, is a major push by Microsoft to make sure its latest OS is installed on millions of PCs and electronics.

Bitdefender's new security software gives you access to the BRAIN

In this day and age, you really need to have some form of defense on your system, keeping the various nasties at bay. Enter Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device 2015, which can protect not only your Windows-based PC, but your Mac and Android-based mobile devices.

 

With so many new threats and hacks being detected everyday, it's incredibly important to have some kind of software installed on your system to protect you. Without it, you are really leaving yourself open to attacks and other nasties if you don't know what you are doing.

 

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The new security software also comes with something Bitdefender calls 'BRAIN' which stands for Bitdefender Reflective Artificial Intelligence Networks. The way the BRAIN works is by "using reflective machine-learning algorithms, Bitdefender can single-handedly identify and block threats on Windows, MacOS or Android devices".

 

Bitdefender Antivirus elaborates, explaining its new Total Security Multi-Device 2015 software as "Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device builds on technology awarded Best Protection and Best Performance to defend your device with just one click. It uses artificial intelligence technologies to accurately detect even the most advanced malware, such as 0-day attacks and advanced persistent threats". Considering it's protecting multiple devices in your possession, both at home and on the go, it is one of the best solutions available.

Continue reading 'Bitdefender's new security software gives you access to the BRAIN' (full post)

AMD to release FreeSync-capable drivers on March 19

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan X is right around the corner, so it's time for AMD to come stomping on its parade with a new FreeSync-capable driver. We're sad it's not the Radeon R9 390X, but this will do until then.

 

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AMD is seeing FreeSync monitors in multiple regions so far, with the company talking about its FreeSync drivers coming on March 19 recently. AMD said: "AMD is very excited that monitors compatible with AMD FreeSync technology are now available in select regions in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). We know gamers are excited to bring home an incredibly smooth and tearing-free PC gaming experience powered by AMD Radeon GPUs and AMD A-Series APUs. We're pleased to announce that a compatible AMD Catalyst graphics driver to enable AMD FreeSync technology for single-GPU configurations will be publicly available on AMD.com starting March 19, 2015. Support for AMD CrossFire configurations will be available the following month in April 2015".

 

This is great to see, as it means that NVIDIA has competition against its G-Sync module and G-Sync powered monitors that are on the market. AMD has plenty of monitors coming out this year with FreeSync baked in, with sizes between a 34-inch ultrawide monitor from LG (which we have on the way), right up to 4K, and back down to 1440p and 1080p, giving gamers and consumers plenty to choose from.

Unity 5 announced, will be royalty free as a 'Personal Edition'

GDC 2015 - Unity Technologies has just announced Unity 5 at the Game Developers Conference, which will include a free, no-royalty Personal Edition to be used by small companies.

 

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Unity 5 is capable of some pretty delicious graphics, as you can see from the screenshots above. Unity CEO John Riccitiello has said that Unity 5 is a "graphics powerhouse", and while it's not as good looking as some competing engines like Unreal Engine 4, we're still impressed. Oculus VR is right behind Unity 5, with Oculus VR founder and VR God himself Palmer Luckey also taking the stage during the Unity 5 announcement.

 

Luckey said: "The majority of the virtual reality experiences we've seen have been built with Unity technology. We're trying to make virtual reality available to everyone, not just consumers, but developers". Unity 5 will have Oculus Rift support very shortly, with Luckey adding "We've been collaborating for over two years with Unity and the results are awesome. It is really smooth and seamless now ... we have the ability to preview and publish to GearVR and Rift instantly".

Continue reading 'Unity 5 announced, will be royalty free as a 'Personal Edition'' (full post)

Lenovo promises to be more transparent about pre-installed software

Lenovo was busted preloading the Superfish adware software on consumer notebooks, and its customers were clearly not happy. Following its Superfish headache, Lenovo wants to become "the leader in providing cleaner, safer PCs" to its customers.

 

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The company continues trying to repair its public relations nightmare, recently promising a reduction in preloaded applications. In the future, pre-loaded software will include Microsoft Windows, security software, Lenovo applications and programs that must be installed so built-in hardware can function - but Lenovo will list what is installed.

 

Cybersecurity experts and US government officials said customers should remove Superfish because it leaves users vulnerable to SSL spoofing techniques that can compromise security. Lenovo will also offer a free six-month subscription for the McAfee LiveSafe service, with additional information expected in the next week.

Continue reading 'Lenovo promises to be more transparent about pre-installed software' (full post)

Lenovo releases Superfish removal patch to angry customers

Lenovo has released a new Superfish adware removal tool for customers, which will allow them to verify the software application and certificate are removed. The company recommends running the automatic removal tool executable so Superfish is completely removed - but also provided manual instructions to the public.

 

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The tool is available here.

 

Just a few days ago, Lenovo confirmed it disabled the adware program after public complaints. "We apologize for causing these concerns among our users - we are learning from this experience and will use it to improve what we do and how we do it in the future," the company said in a public statement.

NVIDIA release GeForce Game Ready 347.52 WHQL drivers for Evolve

Now that Evolve is here, NVIDIA is on the ball with some Game Ready drivers for GeForce owners with the new GeForce 347.52 WHQL drivers. The new set of drivers include performance optimizations, new SLI profiles and more.

 

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If you haven't heard of Evolve, it's from the makers of Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock Studios. It's a 4 vs. 1 action game that can be played online or offline, with four class-based hunters taking on a massive monster that wants to demolish you. As for the GeForce 347.52 WHQL drivers, there are performance improvements for Assassin's Creed: Unity, Battlefield 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Crew, War Thunder, and more.

Before the Xbox One, Microsoft knew what it was doing with DirectX 12

DirectX 12 is shaping up quite nicely so far, offering up to 50% more performance on CPU bound games, and hopefully some delicious new graphics in unannounced games. But, now Xbox boss Phil Spencer has come out and said: "we knew what DX12 was doing before we built Xbox One". On the PC, DirectX 12 will be exclusive to Windows 10.

 

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This is somewhat interesting, as it shows that Microsoft wasn't just throwing DX12 out there to keep up with the market. It built the Xbox One after it had an idea of where it wanted to go with DirectX 12, something I'm sure even had Windows 10 connected to it, too. As for the Xbox One and DX12, Microsoft's updated API won't offer much additional performance for its Xbox One console.

 

Spencer was asked if DX12 would have a big impact on the Xbox One, where he said: "On the DX12 question, I was asked early on by people if DX12 is gonna dramatically change the graphics capabilities of Xbox One and I said it wouldn't. I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade, but the CPU, GPU and memory that are on Xbox One don't change when you go to DX12. DX12 makes it easier to do some of the things that Xbox One's good at, which will be nice and you'll see improvement in games that use DX12, but people ask me if it's gonna be dramatic and I think I answered no at the time and I'll say the same thing".

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