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This is a discussion on Game Tech News within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; Over the last few years, there has been a steadily growing refrain from device makers and game developers that mobile ...

          
   
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    Senior Member HiGame's Avatar
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    Does the iPhone 6 actually have console-quality graphics?



    Over the last few years, there has been a steadily growing refrain from device makers and game developers that mobile devices — smartphones, tablets, portables – have processing power and graphics capabilities that are approaching that of game consoles. This bold assertion began in 2012 with Nvidia saying its mobile GPUs would soon overtake the Xbox 360, and with Apple saying its iPhone 5 has “console-quality graphics” — and by 2013 the PS Vita had indeed caught up with the PS3. Now, however, the head of EA’s mobile division, Frank Gibeau, has made a very interesting statement indeed: He says that the iPhone 6, with its improved processor” is “on par” with the Xbox One and PS4.

    Is it really possible for a battery-powered device that’s 7mm thick to have comparable CPU and GPU performance to next-generation consoles that are still less than a year old, or is the head of EA Mobile a little bit deluded?

    Sadly, even the iPhone is still beholden to the laws of physics


    When it comes to raw computing or graphical performance, there are three main factors to consider: The technical proficiency of the chip designer, the size of the chip (i.e. the transistor count), and the chip’s power envelope (wattage, TDP). In other words, if you have the same AMD-designed GPU with 1 billion transistors, but one chip has a 5W TDP and the other has a 20W TDP, it’s fairly safe to assume that the 20W TDP chip will be (significantly) more powerful. Likewise, one CPU with 2 billion transistors is probably going to be a lot more powerful than a CPU with 1 billion transistors, assuming they were designed by two comparable teams. This is a gross simplification that ignores other important factors, but it will serve us well without having to dive much deeper than necessary.



    Infinity Blade III, on the iPad – an example of state-of-the-art mobile game graphics



    Destiny, on the PS4. Note the high number of models on-screen, high-res textures, particles, lighting…

    Now, let’s take a look at the hardware inside the iPhone 6. The new A8 SoC — at least as far as we know, as Apple hasn’t released the exact specs — has a dual-core Cyclone CPU and hexa-core PowerVR Series6XT GPU. All told, the chip consists of around 2 billion transistors, built using a 20nm process on a tiny 89-square-millimeter die. We don’t know the exact power envelope, but generally the TDP limit for a smartphone form factor is in the 3-4W range. The A7

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    The best free games on the PS4



    A few weeks ago, we went through and picked out twenty of the best free and free-to-play PC games available. After a few days of full-on F2P immersion, we started thinking about free games on other platforms. After all, the free-to-play model has expanded well beyond the PC and it’s now an important part of the gaming ecosystem.

    The selection of free-to-play games on the PS4 is no where near as vast as the selection on the PC, but that’s to be expected. That business model is still relatively new to consoles, and the PS4 itself is still less than a year old. Even so, there are still plenty of good times to be had without opening up your wallet.
    To get started, I went to PSN, and downloaded all six of the free-to-play games available. After a few dozen gigs trickled slowly into my console, I was ready to go. I explored all of the free-to-play goodness to get a feel for the value proposition, and I captured some footage on the PS4 itself while I was at it. Embedded above is a short video I made to show off what you can expect from these games, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you see. None of these titles could be described as breathtaking, but I was happy to see how polished these games look despite their price tags.



    If you’re in the market for a first-person shooter on your new console, you need to download Blacklight Retribution right away. With persistent unlocks, character levels, and customizable load-outs, this is very similar to the Call of Duties of the world. The biggest difference? You don’t have to pay a dime to play Blacklight. Sure, you can buy guns and XP boosts with real money, but the core gameplay is completely free. If you’re on the fence about investing in the same old franchises this year, give this a go before you drop $60 on something you might hate.


    DC Universe Online

    How about something a little more exotic? DC Universe Online is a full-scale MMORPG that’s designed from the ground-up to work on a console. The game originally came out on the PC and PS3, but the PS4 release brings this comic book-themed MMO to a whole new audience. Unsurprisingly, Sony offers plenty of convenience perks and content packs in the cash shop, but that’s only needed for serious enthusiasts. If you just want to jump in, and play the part of your own custom super hero, DC Universe Online has a lot to offer for thrifty gamers.


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    Senior Member matfx's Avatar
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    NVIDIA announces GTX 980 and GTX 970 based on the new Maxwell architecture

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    NVIDIA has announced two new graphics cards for the PC, the flagship single-GPU GTX 980 and the mid-range GTX 970. Both are based on NVIDIA’s 10th generation Maxwell architecture, which succeeds Kepler.

    Other than being more powerful, the two new graphics cards also introduce some new technologies from NVIDIA, including Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI), which enables real-time global illumination. This enables the light to reflect off surfaces more naturally, and the resultant illumination is more realistic and accurate.

    There’s also MFAA, or Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing, which is a more efficient form of traditional Multisample Anti-Aliasing. NVIDIA claims it offers the image quality of 4X MSAA at the performance of 2x MSAA.

    Another new feature is Dynamic Super Resolution, which is generally known as supersampling. What this feature does is it renders the game at a higher resolution than your monitor. So if you have a 1080p monitor, the graphics card will render the game at 4K or higher and then downsample it down to fit your screen. The resultant image is cleaner and has less aliasing. This is sometimes present in games and available as SSAA or FSAA options within anti-aliasing settings but in this case, NVIDIA is doing it within its own GeForce Experience software rather than letting the game do it, assuming the game has the option.

    There are also improvements to cater to VR applications, such as VR SLI where you can assign multiple GPUs for a specific eye, asynchronous warp that reduces latency in half, and auto stereo, which improves game compatibility with devices such as Oculus Rift.

    The GTX 980 and GTX 970 will be available from various hardware partners, including ASUS, Colorful, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, MSI, Palit, PNY and Zotac. The prices start at $549 for the GTX 980 and $329 for the GTX 970.

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    Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Performance Overview by LinusTechTips

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    ASUS ROG Z97 Motherboards – ROG Maximus VII Ranger, ROG Maximus VII Hero, ROG Maximus VII Gene Detailed

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    ASUS Z97 Motherboards – ROG Lineup Pictured and Detailed

    The first lineup we will detail is ASUS’s Z97 ROG motherboard lineup which includes ASUS’s Republic of Gamers branded products which are aimed towards enthusiasts, overclockers and gamers. The new motherboards from ASUS include some intresting features this round such as Intel Ethernet, LAN Guard, GameFirst III, Supreme FX, Sonic Radar II, KeyBot, TrueVolt USB and Gamer’s Guardian which will come in handy for easier connectivity and accessibility. The ASUS Z97 motherboards ‘ROG’ lineup includes the following products which will be detailed below:

    • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero
    • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Gene
    • ASUS ROG Maximus VII Ranger


    ASUS Maximus VII Hero

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    Featuring a new improved ROG design scheme, the ROG Maximus VII Hero will be featuring the latest LGA1150 socket powered by the latest 12 Phase DIGI+ VRM design. Power would be provided through an 8-Pin connector while the 24-Pin ATX connector located next to the four DDR3 DIMMs will power the rest of the mainboard. The board is equipped with overclock switches which include the OC key, On/Off and Clear CMOS switches. Rest of the board includes three PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/x8 electrical), three PCI-e 3.0 x1 and a M.2 PCIe SSD interface which will support Intel’s NGFF form factor drives.

    For storage, ASUS has included 8 SATA 6 GB/s ports and a USB 3.0 header. The VRM and Z97 PCH are cooled by several heatsinks featuring the ROG emblem and theme. The ROG boards use a red and black color theme and the new boards stay loyal to the design.

    ASUS Maximus VII Gene

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    Next up is the Maximus VII Gene which is the M-ATX board made for overclockers. It maybe small but it retains the overclocking features of the flagship ROG Z97 motherboard, comes with two PCI-e 3.0 x16 and a PCI-e 3.0 x4 slot while storage includes 8 SATA 3 Ports. There are several I/O options an the addition of THX audio within the backpanel ports. The CPU is provided power with a 8-Pin power connector which means that the design of DIGI+ VRM is quite beefy and the cooler includes a heatpipe for superior cooling performance. The board has a M.2 PCI E SSD interface and a add-in board of some sort which is most likely the sound card since we can’t spot the Audio jack on the headers.

    There’s an additional add-in card slot on the top of the motherboard right next to the 8-Pin connector which could hint to a Wi-Fi / Bluetooth add in module or something similar like their Wi-Fi Go module that was available with their Z77 series motherboards.

    ASUS Maximus VII Ranger


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    The ASUS Maximus VII Ranger is a new addition in terms of naming scheme to the ROG lineup and is a cut down board which features a 8 Phase DIGI+ VRM powered by an 8-Pin connector which provided juice to the LGA1150 socket. You can note that ASUS has went with a new design for chokes and VRMs which means that the board will deliver more stability and overclocking performance as compared to Z87 products of similar range from ASUS.

    Four DDR3 DIMMs will be able to support memory with XMP profiles for OC support. We can spot some OC and LED diagnostics switches near the 24-Pin ATX connector. Expansion slots include three PCI-e 3.0 x16, three PCI-e 3.0 x1 and a M.2 SSD slot for NGFF form factor SSDs. The large heatsink are placed on the PCH and VRM but we don’t get heatpipe solution on the Maximus VII Ranger. Storage includes six SATA 6 GB/s ports while SupremeFX chip powers the audio jack with high-quality sound output.

    The ROG Z97 motherboards from ASUS will launch along side Haswell Refresh on 10th May 2014 and would be available at different price points. ASUS also plans to introduce their flagship Maximus VII Extreme and Maximus VII Formula motherboards over the course but we haven’t yet seen them in action so its better to wait a bit more for official launch next month.

    Read more: ASUS ROG Z97 Motherboards - ROG Maximus VII Ranger, ROG Maximus VII Hero, ROG Maximus VII Gene Detailed

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    Project Cars Is Coming to PC, Xbox One and PS4

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    The upcoming racing video game Project Cars is apparently getting ready to rev engines on the PS4, Xbox One and PC starting November 21.
    The news comes from a tweet from retailer GAME, who posted a message claiming that the UK division of publisher Bandai Namco provided them with information regarding the video game's launch date.

    Bandai Namco has yet to announce (or confirm) the proper launch date for the racer, aside from the previous reveal of a November window, but if the news is legitimate, expect the official announcement to land shortly.

    The video game started out as a crowdfunded project and ended up way beyond its initial scope, offering a detailed and realistic driving and racing simulation.

    Developer Slightly Mad Studios previously worked on Need for Speed: Shift and Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, two entries in some of the most recognizable and long-standing racing video game franchises.

    The community-based racing sim includes a full-fledged dynamic weather system that influences gameplay, and aims to deliver a realistic driving simulation, with several high-profile professional racing drivers working as consultants to make sure that the experience ends up as faithful as possible.

    The game is said to drop on November 21 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and a Nintendo Wii U version is also in the works, slated for release sometime next year.

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    A brand new video from EGX London offers us the chance to see the upcoming racing game Project Cars in action on the PlayStation 4 home entertainment system from Sony.


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    Asus Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II Overview

    JJ from Asus North America give us an overview of the latest "Maxwell" based high end NVIDIA GPU. Specifically the GTX 970. What sets this card apart is its full non reference design. The PCB, VRM and heatsink as well as the fan assembly. All of these combine together to offer a card that is cooler , quieter and faster than the reference GTX 970 and offer truly impressive high resolution and ultra high image quality PC gaming. Improvements in efficiency as well as architecure allow for much lower power consumption while improving performance to rival that of a GTX 780, 780Ti as well the new GTX 980.

    We also take a look at the card from the inside out providing information on the custom PCB as well as the VRM and explain the benefits of the Digi+ VRM implementation and its utilization of SAP power components. We also detail the complete DirectCU II heatsink and fan assembly which includes fans featuring a Dust Proof fan design as well as 0dB fan operation.

    This is seriously an awesome card for those of you looking for a cards that offers great 1080 , 2560 and light 4K gaming performance and offers tons of features and functions including G-SYNC, GeForce Experience, PhysX, Shadowplay, MFAA, TXAA, DSR , 3D VISION, VXGI, Surround and more.

    In the overview JJ cover:

    • General design and features and functionality
    • Maxwell architecture and benefits as well as GPU Specifications
    • Temperatures and acoustics
    • Overclocking



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    On the Xbox One you can have next-gen graphics or next-gen gameplay – not both



    We’re nearly one year into the Xbox One’s lifespan, and major exclusive titles are still being released at sub-1080p resolutions. Despite the fact that some cross-generation games like Destiny and Diablo III can run at full 1080p on Microsoft’s latest console, many big-name Xbox One titles still can’t hit that resolution without significantly compromising another aspect of the game. Even with the recent 10% GPU boost, Insomniac’s Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive is only going to hit 900p (1600×900) at 30 frames per second. Frankly, this doesn’t bode well for the Xbox One’s longevity.

    In an interview with our sister site IGN, Insomniac’s Ted Price makes it very clear that Sunset Overdrive‘s gameplay is pushing the Xbox One hardware to its limits, and the resolution and frame rate suffer because of that. “This is a game with a lot on the screen and we made the choice to be at [900p] because we wanted to push the level of detail, action, the size of the city,” Price said. Sadly, it seems nigh-on impossible to offer the scope and complexity of a true next-gen gameplay experience while offering 1080p visuals on the Xbox One. As it stands, you can have one or the other — not both.



    Even with the 10% GPU bump, last year’s 10% CPU boost, and next year’s DirectX 12 release, titles on the Xbox One will likely struggle to hit 1080p for the rest of the console’s existence. When it comes down to it, the PS4


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    This weird exoskeleton adds the sensation of touch to virtual reality



    Virtual reality is so much more than visuals, but most of what we’re used to seeing is little more than head-tracking and 3D imagery in a head-mounted display. For real immersion, VR is going to need to take advantage of the other senses as well. Touch and smell are just as important as sight and sound, but those are much harder problems to solve. Thankfully, a company by the name of Dexta Robotics is developing a peripheral to simulate the sensation of touch in a virtual world.
    We’re on the brink of a massive wave of consumer-friendly virtual reality solutions. The Oculus Rift has stirred up enough interest over the last year or two that everyone from tiny engineering projects to giant corporations are investigating VR.

    However, nearly everything we’ve seen is focused on the motion-tracking and display parts of the VR equation. Thankfully, this mechanical exoskeleton dubbed the “Dexmo F2” is being designed specifically to give you the experience of touching a solid object.

    In a Q&A on Reddit, a Dexta representative went into the details of how this oddball mechanical skeleton works. In this early model, the pointer finger and the thumb are fitted with a tiny disc braking system that prevents the joints from moving past a specific point. If you’re trying to pick up a virtual object, your finger and thumb will actually meet resistance like it would if you were picking up an object in the real world.

    The Oculus Rift paired with an omnidirectional treadmill creates an extremely immersive experience — but the sense of touch would take things to the next level.

    Unfortunately, this prototype doesn’t have the ability to convey exactly how firm the object in question is. As it stands, the brakes are either on or off — there is no middle ground. It’s disappointing, but remember that this is extremely early on in the life of virtual touch. To keep costs down, this early model doesn’t even have the ability to simulate touch on the other three fingers. The prototype will supposedly be available through a Kickstarter campaign later this month for under $200, so keep that in mind before you go off and pre-order a Dexmo F2 for your very own.

    This implementation is bulky, cumbersome, limited in scope, and extremely unattractive, but don’t let that fool you. If we want real virtual reality, we have to go through some growing pains. Of course your grandpa is never going to strap on this weird mechanical spider, but this kind of research is a stepping stone to true Matrix-style immersion.


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    Microsoft’s RoomAlive makes your whole room a video game



    Early in 2013, Microsoft showed off IllumiRoom, its concept peripheral that took what was displayed on your television and extended it to the surrounding room. We haven’t heard much from IlllumiRoom in a while, but now Microsoft is back with the newest version of technology, RoomAlive.

    IllumiRoom didn’t purport to put you into the game like a virtual reality headset, but it did aim to create an experience more immersive than playing a game displayed within the finite bounds of your television. The original IllumiRoom used a Kinect to record the geometry and colors of a room, then used a projector to extend the video displayed on the TV to the surrounding environment. Many people speculated that IllumiRoom would be the Xbox One’s (then referred to as the Xbox 720) killer feature, as IllumiRoom appeared to be the next evolution of the Kinect. Instead, we got a more evolved Kinect that was eventually dropped in favor of lowering the price of the flailing Xbox One. Though the Kinect wasn’t really accepted by gamers (or utilized well by game developers, to be fair), the IllumiRoom has the potential to provide a much better — and more utilized — experience. Now, with RoomAlive, we get to see the next evolution of that potential.

    RoomAlive is still a concept, but it’s more advanced than IllumiRoom. It uses a similar rig — a Kinect strapped to projector depth-camera, known as a procam. Like the IllumiRoom, the Kinect is used as a sensor, and the projector is used to display imagery. Whereas the IllumiRoom uses one procam rig to extend the bounds of your television, RoomAlive uses six rigs to animate the whole room, and the Kinects’ sensor capabilities are used to make the whole display interactive. There’s a video of IllumiRoom at the end of the story, if you want to see how the two projects compare.

    Essentially, RoomAlive — like IllumiRoom before it — is simply projection mapping used in an innovative way. With its animated wedding cake, Disney recently showed that projection mapping — even when relatively simple – can be impressive so long as it’s creative. RoomAlive is more complicated than projecting video onto the 3D surface of a cake, as it uses the Kinects to sense the shape of any room, then dynamically project the video onto the newly acquired geometry. Even more impressive, the Kinects track the head of the user as he moves around the room, and shift the image to his perspective.



    Installation is easy enough as well. Normally, someone would have to manually calibrate a project mapping system, but once the six procam rigs are set up, the Kinects do the calibrating themselves.

    RoomAlive is still a concept, and doesn’t look like it will be the new gaming peripheral for a long time coming. However, the concept works — as seen in the above video — and it’s just a matter of refinement at this point, however long and arduous that process may be.


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    Xbox One is selling in China, but can emerging markets help Microsoft compete with the PS4?



    After the end of a 14-year game console ban by the Chinese government, the Xbox One was finally introduced to that market in an official capacity late last month. On the first day of the console’s release, it sold a very respectable 100,000 units, and it’s anticipated that the Xbox One will continue to sell well over the next year. Will this early lead for Microsoft translate to domination in the growing Chinese market, or will Nintendo and Sony outpace the house that Halo built?

    Chinese news site 17173 is reporting the “100,000

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