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This is a discussion on New Gadgets within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; Modern system power management is anything but simple. Modern CPUs (or APUs in AMD’s parlance) have complex sensor networks and ...

      
   
  1. #151
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    New Linux Patch Will Significantly Boost Ice Lake GPU Performance

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    Modern system power management is anything but simple. Modern CPUs (or APUs in AMD’s parlance) have complex sensor networks and power management schemes that take temperature reads from multiple points inside the system, including its skin temperature. A recent investigation into Intel’s Linux P-state driver showed this — end-users were reporting better results if they used the “powersave” governor as opposed to the “performance” governor.

    A series of patches created by Francisco Jerez, one of Intel’s open-source driver developers, is intended to help resolve the issue. Here’s how he frames the problem:
    In IO-bound scenarios (by definition) the throughput of the system doesn’t improve with increasing CPU frequency beyond the threshold value at which the IO device becomes the bottleneck, however with the current governors (whether HWP is in use or not) the CPU frequency tends to oscillate with the load, often with an amplitude far into the turbo range, leading to severely reduced energy efficiency, which is particularly problematic when a limited TDP budget is shared among a number of cores running some multithreaded workload, or among a CPU core and an integrated GPU.

    The goal here is not to waste CPU cycles on I/O-bound workloads where they are literally of no use, whether that’s in a multi-threaded scenario or a simultaneous CPU and GPU workload, like gaming. At the same time, however, Intel wants the system to maintain a certain minimum level of responsiveness. The solution, Jerez writes, is to limit the CPU to a “reasonably energy-efficient frequency able to at least achieve the required amount of work in a time window approximately equal to the ramp-up latency target.”
    In other words, the CPU drops to a lower and more energy-efficient frequency without sacrificing Intel’s latency requirement. The software is still under active development. Currently, it may not work very effectively if used in heavy multi-tasking environments where multiple applications request very low ramp-up latency targets, because the lowest target is always used.

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  2. #152
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    GOG Offers 27 Free Games to Help You Pass the Time at Home

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    We’re all spending a lot more time indoors lately, and that can be hard on people who are accustomed to getting out there and interacting with their fellow humans. If you need something to help pass the time, GOG has a collection of 27 free games. The “Stay at home and play some games” page includes some new games, some old games, and a few very old games.
    All the games on this list were already free, but now they’re listed in one place for easy access. Separately, GOG is having a spring sale that runs through the end of the month if you want to pick up some newer, more complex games. That said, there’s some cool stuff in the “stay at home” list. Here’s the full collection.

    • Akalabeth: World of Doom
    • Alder’s Blood Prologue
    • Beneath a Steel Sky
    • Bio Menace
    • Builders of Egypt: Prologue
    • Cayne
    • Doomdark’s revenge
    • Eschalon: Book I
    • Flight of the Amazon Queen
    • GWENT: The Witcher Card Game
    • Hello Neighbor Alpha Version
    • Jill of the Jungle: The Complete Trilogy
    • Legend of Keepers: Prologue
    • The Lords of Midnight
    • Lure of the Temptress
    • Overload – Playable Teaser
    • Postal: Classic and Uncut
    • Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves
    • Shadow Warrior Classic Complete
    • Stargunner
    • Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius
    • Teenagent
    • Treasure Adventure Game
    • Tyrian 2000
    • Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar
    • Ultima World of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams
    • Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire

    GOG is part of CD Projekt Red, so it’s no surprise the free-to-play Gwent card game is on the list. That’s one of the newer, more well-known titles you’ll find on the page. There are also some demos and previews from the last couple of years.

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  3. #153
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    Microsoft Unveils DirectX 12 Ultimate, Its Next-Generation API

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    Itís been a few years since Microsoft introduced DirectX 12, and thereís a new set of console introductions coming this fall, so the time is ripe for the unveiling of a new DirectX version. Microsoft has just launched DirectX 12 Ultimate, an extension and unification of various DX12 features that should serve as a common capability reference for new products and consoles.

    GPUs labeled as supporting DirectX 12 Ultimate will offer the following capabilities:
    DirectX Raytracing
    Variable Rate Shading
    Mesh Shaders
    Sampler Feedback
    GPUs that canít provide all of these capabilities will continue to be sold as DirectX 12 GPUs, not DirectX 12 Ultimate cards. None of the capabilities above are new ó Nvidia introduced the first GPUs with DX12 raytracing support back in 2018 ó but they arenít supported across modern GPU families.

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    How to Buy the Best VR Headset to Play Half-Life

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    It’s been a long time since Valve took us to the world of Half-Life, but the wait may have been worth it. The newly released Half-Life: Alyx is being called a true virtual reality masterpiece. It’s actually driving many people to pick up virtual reality headsets for the first time, but the VR landscape can be confusing for new players. Here are your options.

    First, Check Your PC Specs

    First-Party: Valve Index

    Premium but Expensive: HTC Vive Pro

    Versatile and Cheaper: Oculus Rift S and Quest

    Plausible but Not Great: Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

    What Should You Get?

    Your best bet to play Half-Life: Alyx as soon as possible is probably the Vive Pro. It’s expensive, but it’s actually in-stock. The Index is good if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks, and Valve will let you place an order now. Everything else will look a bit worse and requires you to scour the web for resellers or eBay listings.

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    How to Stay Fit at Home With Your VR Rig

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    As stay-at-home orders tighten in many parts of the US and around the world, it’s increasingly challenging for many of us to continue our fitness regimes. For the most part, all multi-player sports have been stopped — especially those involving contact or shared equipment. And for people like me who have a particular favorite sport, tennis in my case, it’s hard to find a substitute. So I decided to dig into what’s possible with VR.

    Hack ‘n’ Slash: Beat Saber and Arcade Saga


    When I polled colleagues at ExtremeTech and friends at Oculus asking for a good way to get a little exercise in VR, they all put Beat Saber at the top of their list. For those who remember DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), it’s similar in principle, except it features your hands and arms instead of your legs and feet. A variety of shapes hurtle towards you while you swipe through some with one of your virtual lightsabers and dodge others, all in time with the beat of the soundtrack.
    The game is a lot of fun, even if you’re like me and most of the music isn’t what you’d normally listen to. There is a Green Day add-on pack for us oldsters. Like the other virtual experiences I’m covering in this article, you really need both full tracking and some kind of touch controller to play effectively.

    For those who miss dancing the night away, the creators of DDR have published Dance Central, a VR version that leverages touch controllers as the way to mimic moves instead of the original dance pad. I’m not much of a dancer, but it looks like a lot of fun, and reviewers gush about how it gets them moving and provides a workout.
    If you have a Vive headset, Arcade Saga is also a lot of fun and can definitely get your blood flowing. It combines a number of games that focus on various swiping, punching, shooting, and dodging skills. I was able to play it at launch several years ago, but don’t have a Vive, so I haven’t used the latest updates. I played it with a long tether, but like just about any VR experience involving standing or moving around, it’d be better wireless.

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    Google Makes Stadia Free to Anyone With a Gmail Address

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    Google has finally had an idea for how to expand Stadiaís audience, and it only took a worldwide pandemic for the company to realize there might be a better way to reach potential customers. A recent company blog post states:
    Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when youíre stuck at home, so weíre giving gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia Pro for two months. This is starting today and rolling out over the next 48 hours

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    How to Download the Nvidia Control Panel Without the Microsoft Store

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    If you haven’t updated your graphics drivers recently, you may not be aware of a change Nvidia instituted in December of 2019. Starting from that date, the Nvidia Control Panel is no longer distributed in the version of Nvidia drivers available for default off the main website. If you navigate to Nvidia.com and check the “GeForce Drivers” page, the driver you’ll be offered is what Microsoft calls a “DCH” (Declarative Componentized Hardware) driver, and it doesn’t include Nvidia’s Control Panel. As of now, if you want the Nvidia Control Panel — and you probably do — you have to get it from the Microsoft Store. According to Nvidia, these changes were due to new requirements from Microsoft. DCH drivers always have the “DCH” string in the file name, e.g. “445.87-desktop-win10-64bit-international-dch-whql.exe”

    While it’s possible to download applications from the Microsoft Store without using a Microsoft account, the company uses any interaction with the Store as an excuse to push you towards creating one. When you attempt to download the Nvidia Control Panel without logging in first, the Windows Store shoves a login window in front of you to imply you must create an account in order to install the software.

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    RetroPie 4.6 Launches With Raspberry Pi 4 Support

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    For fans of retro game consoles and home computer systems, it’s been a long time coming: RetroPie 4.6 has launched, with the star feature being official support for the Raspberry Pi 4. The RetroPie team took its time on purpose with this one and is still calling the support for the Pi 4 “beta,” although it’s now available for everyone and included within the 4.6 install. RetroPie says that “there are still things to improve, but most emulators now run well.”

    RetroPie 4.6 also includes a move to Raspbian Buster as a base for the images, now that Raspberry Pi Trading Ltd. no longer supports Raspbian Stretch. RetroPie said it would continue to support Stretch for “a while longer,” but it will likely stop updating binaries for Stretch before the year is out.

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    Fan Remasters Capcom Classic Dino Crisis for 4K, 60fps

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    Dino Crisis (not to be confused with “Dino Crysis,” a game we literally just made up yet somehow want to play) is a classic Capcom series based on the core principles of Jurassic Park, but without any of the troublesome IP entanglements or need to pay licensing fees. The Dino Crisis series was never the hit that the original Resident Evil turned out to be, but it’s maintained a solid base of fans over the years — rumors that the Xbox One would feature a new Dino Crisis 4 circulated widely early in that console’s life.

    Now, one fan has taken it upon themselves to do what Capcom hasn’t — extensively remaster the first game. The new mod is a massive update and includes a replacement for the old DirectDraw 5.0 library (implemented via DX9, with DX11 support coming); swaps out DirectInput 3.0/5.0 for Xinput, RawInput, and DirectInput (effectively enabling modern controller support); replaces DirectShow with FFmpeg; adds a new 3D rendering mode and support for up to 4K; solves various frame-rate issues; and adds optional adaptive widescreen modes for aspect ratios like 16:9 and 16:10.

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    Best headphones for grads in 2020

    With the coronavirus pandemic leading to canceled proms, shortened school years and virtual commencement addresses, this year's graduation season will be the most unusual (and melancholy) one in generations. But that's even more of a reason to celebrate the graduates in your life with a gift -- and a pair of new wireless headphones fits the bill nicely.

    With a multitude of models to choose from, it's not easy to figure out which headphone to buy these days. With that in mind, we're highlighting several of our highest-rated wireless headphones to help narrow down your gift choice this graduation season. And several options here are in the $50 to $60 range, so they're affordable graduation gifts for those who are on a budget.

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    Sony's WH-1000XM3, the third generation of Sony's excellent wireless noise-canceling headphones, has a more comfortable fit and features even better performance than its predecessor, perfect sound quality for listening to music. With a strong battery life, these over-ear wireless headphones are currently our top-rated pick for noise canceling, edging out the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which are more expensive. While these list for $350, these over-ear headphones frequently get discounted for closer to $280. And it's doubly important to seek out that discount: With a next-gen version of this pair of wireless headphones having already been spotted on Twitter, we expect the XM4 successor to arrive later this year.

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    Samsung's Buds Plus look essentially the same as the original Galaxy Buds, but their battery life is rated at 11 hours for music playback (up from 6), and they pack dual drivers for better sound and an additional microphone in each bud to help with external noise reduction while making calls.

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