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This is a discussion on Game Tech News within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; Laptops have always traded performance for portability, particularly when it comes to GPUs — and Apple users have it worse ...

      
   
  1. #411
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    Kickstarter project offers external graphics for MacBooks ó but is this the best option?



    Laptops have always traded performance for portability, particularly when it comes to GPUs — and Apple users have it worse than most. Apple laptops are generally quite competitive with their PC counterparts at equivalent prices. But PC users always have the option to buy a boutique system with a mobile GPU, while Apple customers are limited to either a $1,999 system with Intel’s Iris Pro and 128MB EDRAM cache or a $2,499 system with an AMD R9 M370X. Neither option is appealing at their respective price points if you care about GPU performance.

    Now, a new Kickstarter project aims to bring additional flexibility to Macs via an external GPU chassis. We’ve seen this type of solution pop up before, both as a DIY solution and as a formal product from companies like Alienware and Razer. The team behind the Wolfe and its bigger brother, the Wolfe Pro, want to sell users either a GTX 950 or GTX 970 in an external enclosure and with all of the required engineering and assembly done for you (unless you buy the DIY kit). Both the Wolfe and Wolfe Pro come with a 220W PSU, three DisplayPort outputs, and one HDMI output.

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    Facebook is building its own gaming platform, hopes to take on Steam, iOS, and Android



    Over the past 12 years the Steam gaming service has transformed from a digital distribution hub primarily used by Valve’s own games into a colossus that stands astride the entire PC gaming industry. While competitor services like GOG and publisher-specific services like uPlay and Origin exist, Steam is still the 800-lb gorilla in the room. Now, Facebook has announced that it intends to challenge Valve’s dominance of the PC gaming industry — as well as taking on iOS and Android at the same time.

    Facebook has announced a significant partnership with Unity Technologies, the company behind the Unity engine. The company’s goal is to create a new gaming platform explicitly tied to Facebook that would run across Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows PCs. This is an interesting concept in and of itself, since gaming is almost always sandboxed by operating system. Facebook claims Unity will help develop new game developer tools, services, and integrate support for the Facebook platform directly into the Unity engine itself.


    Slide from Business Insider

    When Facebook started becoming popular, it built much of that early popularity on hit games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. Social gaming hasn’t been as critical to FB’s growth and revenue as it used to be, but as the above slide from TechCrunch makes clear, the company still pays huge amounts of money to developers and it claims 650 million gamers among its user base.

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    Amazon, Sony, Steam refunding players unhappy with No Manís Sky, former Sony content director calls refund-seekers thieves



    Update: Steam has published notice that it has not formally changed its refund policies and will examine requests on a case-by-case basis. Amazon and Sony have not responded to requests for comment.

    Even in the run-up to No Man’s Sky’s debut, it was clear that no single game could possibly fulfill the sky-high expectations of its player base. Since the game launched, a number of websites have collected numerous examples of behaviors that were originally promised and never implemented. The animals on the various planets you explore never demonstrate the interesting behaviors they exhibited in launch trailers, there’s no variation between factions, the combat model is painfully simplistic, there’s no stealth capabilities for your own ship, no variations in ship types, no atmospheric modeling, no ability to fly your ship below a predefined height, no planetary physics, and minimal variation in functional ship types.

    Space stations were supposed to be destroyable, they aren’t. The freighters you engage with were supposed to move, they don’t. Planets and moons do not orbit on their axis or orbit a sun. The trading and resource gathering components of the game were supposed to be robust and offer enough variety to allow players to focus on them.

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    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is marred by long load times on PS4 and Xbox One



    It’s been 16 years since the original Deus Ex hit store shelves, but the core concept of a cyberpunk RPG that revolves around player choice is still undeniably strong. Sneaking, shooting, and smooth-talking your way out of a dangerous situation still feels great when you pull it off the first time, but the lengthy load times add a heavy penalty for experimentation in Eidos Montreal’s latest release.
    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes place two years after Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011), and Adam Jensen returns as the game’s protagonist. Set mostly in the Czech Republic, the player is tasked with tracking down the Illuminati, and thwarting terrorism that is driving a wedge between traditional and augmented humans.

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    New specs on Nvidia GTX 1050 may have leaked ahead of launch



    Nvidia’s recent Pascal refreshes have focused mainly on the high end of the market, though that’s changed in the past month with the GTX 1060 hitting the $200 price point. Now, specs of the upcoming GP107 / GTX 1050 have supposedly surfaced. While all such data must be taken with a grain of salt, the specs make provisional sense.

    According to BenchLife, the upcoming part will be a 768:64:32 core (that’s cores, texture units, and ROPS). That’s still a significant step down from the GTX 1060, which offers a base configuration of 1280:80:48 at 6GB and 1152:72:48 at 3GB. The GPU reportedly has a 128-bit memory path for 112GB/s of memory bandwidth altogether.



    The GTX 1050 is a very different card than the RX 470 it would presumably compete against. AMD’s 4th-generation GCN is a much wider beast, with a 2048:128:32 configuration. Historically, the GTX 1060 – 1080 have all wielded a significant clock speed difference over GCN, but that may not be the case here — the maximum boost clock for the GTX 1050 is supposedly 1380MHz, and while Pascal GPUs with Nvidia Boost 3.0 tend to hit much higher clocks, we doubt the GPU is designed to leap to 1900MHz+ from a 1380MHz maximum boost.

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    PlayStation Meeting liveblog: PS4 Pro for $399, PS4 Slim for $299



    Updated 3:46p ET: Well, that was a weirdly short show. The PS4 Pro will launch on November 10th at $399. PS4 Slim is $299. Hardly any love for PSVR. Kind of a crazy event.
    Updated 3:12p ET: PS4 Pro is half-step that was codenamed “Neo.” 4K and HDR support.
    Updated 3:06p ET: The event has begun. PS4 Slim right out of the gate.
    We’re only two and a half months away from Black Friday, and Sony is gearing up for the holiday season in a major way. At today’s PlayStation meeting, Sony is likely to show off three upcoming products: The slim redesign of the PlayStation 4, the more powerful PlayStation 4K (AKA PlayStation Neo), and the PlayStation VR headset. The event starts at 3PM ET (12pm PT), so join us here as we liveblog the entire announcement.

    Liveblog



    3:45p ET:
    Well… That’s a wrap for the announcement. Barely any PSVR talk. That price is great, but will it actually deliver smooth gameplay at 2160p? We’ll find out soon.




    3:44p ET:
    PS4 Pro coming November 10th. $399. Damn!
    3:42p ET: Hmm… no talk about UHD Blu-ray, but… it’s Sony. That has to be in it, right?
    3:41p ET: Wow! All PS4s can use HDR after a firmware update. That’s awesome. Now is the time to buy a new TV!
    3:40p ET: Over 600 hours of 4K footage on Netflix. New Netflix app for PS4 Pro. YouTube is making a new app as well.
    3:37p ET: BioWare exec confirmed FIFA and Battlefield 1 will support PS4 Pro. Now showing Mass Effect Andromeda footage. Exciting! But that won’t be out until 2017.





    3:33p ET:
    Activision rep says Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered will support PS4 Pro features at launch. Black Ops III is getting a title update to support the new specs as well. Sweet.
    3:31p ET: All games will play on both models, but Sony is having devs take advantage of the new hardware. Not surprising. We heard this before.
    3:28p ET: Cerny is calling patches for existing PS4 games “Forward compatibility.” Some older games can be patched to take advantage of the better specs.



    3:26p ET: PS4 Pro seems like a solid purchase even if you don’t have an UHDTV.
    3:24p ET: Devs can use the extra horsepower to make 1080p output better. SSAO!
    3:19p ET: Discussing what human eyes can actually see. HDR is impressive, but it only really makes a difference in person. Hard to sell, I think.
    3:17p ET: Showing off games in 4K. Obviously it doesn’t make much difference for livestreamers.
    3:16p ET: Not only will this benefit UHDTVs, but Cerny says that 1080p displays and PSVR will benefit.
    3:14p ET: Better GPU, faster CPU, and 1TB hard drive.
    3:12p ET: Mark Cerny on stage to talk PS4 Pro.
    3:11p ET: PS4 Pro is the 4K model.
    3:10p ET: Talking 4K and HDR, and what that means for PlayStation.
    3:08p ET: PS4 Slim announced right away. It’s exactly what we thought it was. Launches September 15th. $299.
    3:06p ET: Andrew House is on stage.
    3:03p ET: Waiting for things to kick off. A bit late.
    2:53p ET: Less than ten minutes to go before the event starts!

    What we expected before the show


    The PS4 Slim was discovered a few weeks back, so we might know everything there is to know about this slightly smaller console. It’s likely cheaper, uses physical buttons instead of capacitive buttons, and is missing the optical audio port. Otherwise, it seems to be pretty much the same as the current PS4. And because it’s been found in the wild, there’s a decent chance it will launch very soon.

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    Forza Horizon 3 demo looks great on the Xbox One, PC players have to wait



    We’re less than two weeks away from the release of Forza Horizon 3, but eager drivers can already get a taste of what it’s like to race around the streets and open terrain of Australia. If you have an Xbox One, you can download the massive 18GB Horizon 3 demo, and go Down Under a little bit early.

    It’s hard to believe the Forza franchise is over a decade old. Starting with the 2005 original Xbox release of Forza Motorsport, Microsoft and its partner studios have delivered the goods time and time again. The straight-laced Motorsport sub-series is perfect for traditional racing enthusiasts, but the freewheeling Horizon spin-offs allow for more exploration and open-world high jinks.

    The first Horizon took place in Colorado, the second brought us to France and Italy, and this third installment is set in Australia. While it’s easy to assume that it’s little more than a massive desert, the outback is just a single aspect of this highly diverse mega-island. There’s plenty of lush greenery, gorgeous beaches, and city streets to keep this setting interesting.
    If that sounds appealing, you can now try out the game for yourself. Head over to the Xbox Store, and click the blue “Get it now” button to attach the demo to your account. On your Xbox One, go to the “My games & apps” screen, and it should be waiting for you in the “Ready to install” section.

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    Gigabyte GTX 1060 G1 Gaming 6GB review: one of the best midrange GPUs you can buy today



    Nvidia’s GTX 1080 and 1070 may win the overall performance competition, but they don’t represent the bulk of the GPU market. According to both AMD and Nvidia, they sell far more GPUs in the midrange than the luxury market. Today we’ll be reviewing Gigabyte’s GTX 1060 G1 Gaming 6GB to see how it compares with a range of current and previous-generation hardware from both AMD and Nvidia.

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    New Oculus update adds Facebook integration, real-names policy



    Ever since Facebook bought Oculus several years ago, there’s been fears that the social media company would begin requiring mandatory Facebook integration or would otherwise hijack the VR headset in some way. Oculus’ new 1.8 software update doesn’t make that integration mandatory, but it includes capabilities that may raise eyebrows with its current users.

    The new update prompts users to log into Facebook, according to Ars Technica. Once you do, your Oculus username changes to your Facebook real name, without prompting and without any ability to switch it back. Once you sign in via Facebook, all of your friends who own a Rift are automatically populated into your Oculus friends list. But since Oculus Home doesn’t offer any filtering options or the ability to block individuals from seeing what games you’re playing, that means you can either be online and visible to everyone, or online and invisible with no option in-between. It’s not clear if you can remove people once they’ve been added; Oculus’ help pages note that: “When you connect to Facebook, your Oculus friend list is continuously updated so your can share VR easily.”




    Oculus continues to promise that Facebook integration will never be mandatory. But its decision to apply a real-names policy and mandatory friends integration are depressingly typical for Facebook. The corporation has a long-standing tradition of destroying user privacy before offering back some of what it took in obfuscated menus and difficult-to-understand settings. That said, there’s no evidence that the company is planning to make Facebook mandatory at any point. Just be aware that if you link Oculus Home to your Facebook account, you may not be able to walk that connection back in the future. If you play games that you might not want your co-workers, family, and friends to know about — and given the stigma still attached to gaming as a time-wasting event, that might include just about anything — it’s best to skip the integration step altogether. Oculus came under fire earlier this year for some of its privacy and data collection and was asked to submit information to Congress clarifying what it collects and how it uses that information. Recent surveys have suggested that headsets like the Vive, with its integrated motion controllers, are more popular than Oculus Rift, but sales data from HTC and Oculus isn’t currently available. Sony will roll out PlayStation VR in a matter of weeks, and how well or poorly that platform sells will probably set expectations for developers and investors regarding the long-term feasibility of virtual reality.

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    AMD hints FreeSync-capable TVs might come to market, boost PS4 and Xbox One graphics



    For the last few years, AMD and Nvidia have offered competing versions of the same technology. Both FreeSync (AMD) and G-Sync (Nvidia) are designed to smooth out gameplay presentation and offer superior image quality by matching a display’s refresh rate to the delivery of each new frame. In traditional v-sync, in contrast, frames are either displayed at a steady interval (typically 30 or 60 times per second) or are displayed as soon as they are ready. The first method can lead to dramatic dips in performance if new frames aren’t ready and creates a small-but-discernible amount of stutter in some cases. The second can lead to image tearing as frames are shoved out as quickly as possible.

    Right now, FreeSync and G-Sync are both confined to computer monitors or mobile systems, but Tom’s Hardware thinks we might see them come to TVs as well. During a conference call touting the one-year anniversary of AMD’s decision to found the Radeon Technology Group, AMD’s Raja Koduri, head of RTG, had this to say: ““We are definitely working with the entire display community on getting FreeSync to more places,” said Koduri. “I think this is something we should follow up…on what we can share at this point on FreeSync TVs.”

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