This week the protagonists of Assemble that Passes you I’m Valve, Intel e NVIDIA, with the latter that would seem to be already close to the production of the first multi-chip GPUs while, in parallel, it is working on a small but important mobile revolution focused on the combination of ARM processors and Ampere graphics architecture.
Meanwhile Valve reassured about the power of Steam Deck, making an interesting change to the memory specifications to avoid the risk of bottlenecks. Finally, on the Intel side, we find new alleged benchmarks of the Core i9-12900K, the flagship processor of the first Intel desktop series based on hybrid cores that promises an imperious leap in terms of single thread power.
NVIDIA Hopper architecture
Let’s start with NVIDIA which, according to what reported on Twitter by the leaker Greymon55, would be almost ready to start the production of samples of the first chip based on Hopper architecture. The indiscretion simply carries the acronym NHWTOS but this acronym, apparently, stands for “NVIDIA’s Hopper Will Tape Out Soon” and anticipates the transition to the final stage of production of the first NVIDIA GPU based on the MCM (multi-chip module) design.
The same philosophy, in the future, should be used with consumer GPUs but for now, as long as the rumors turn out to be true, the Hopper architecture looks to the professional field. It is no coincidence that we talk about the possibility of two GPUs side by side for a total of 288 multiprocessor streams, a number 2.6 times higher than that of the NVIDIA A100 GPU. Enough, in combination with a new 5-nanometer manufacturing process, to deliver three times the power of GPU Ampere. All accompanied by the advantages of a multi-module architecture which, similar to that used with AMD Ryzen CPUs, guarantees advantages in terms of efficiency and production costs, allowing you to produce a single chip to be placed side by side with others to have solutions. more and more powerful.
Also for this reason we expect that in the near future the same approach will also be used for consumer video cards, but it is not certain that this will happen before 2024. In fact, we await the Lovelace architecture, scheduled for early 2022 and presumably based on the evolution of formula currently used, with an increase in the cores dedicated to ray tracing and tensor cores as a function of a DLSS still evolving and which will undoubtedly play an important role also in the future strategies of NVIDIA.
ARM Chromebook with NVIDIA video cards
The other news of the week regarding NVIDIA is due to a couple of important announcements that animated the Game Developers Conference 2021 which ended yesterday. The first relates to support for ray tracing e DLSS on the MediaTek Kompanio 1200 platform, based on ARM architecture. This does not surprise us that much given that ARM was acquired by NVIDIA and given that inside the chip there is an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, capable of running the Wolfenstein demos: Youngblood and The Bistro very well. useful for showing the capabilities of the chipset. But it is still an important step forward. The MediaTek Kompanio 1200 chipset is in fact designed for a new wave of Chromebooks with high gaming capabilities, combined with an ultra-portable format at reduced prices.
NVIDIA’s second announcement at GDC 2021 also concerns DLSS which now, thanks to the new NVIDIA Studio drivers, enjoys native support for Unity and Unreal Engine. It is unclear whether this move could lead to a shared AI model that ensures rapid implementation of sophisticated upscaling in all games using the two very popular graphics engines, but we assume it makes things easier for developers, assuming the basis for an even faster diffusion of a technology which, when used at its best, guarantees a substantial increase in performance with little or no loss of detail.
And it is always looking at performance, this time from a virtual reality perspective, that NVIDIA has announced the implementation of Eye-Tracked Foveated Rendering in Unreal Engine 4.27, as well as an improvement in the Light Mass GPU technology that should lead to a improvement of pre-calculated lighting. Specifically, the Eye-Tracked Foveated Rendering takes care of reducing the peripheral detail of the images, concentrating the work of the GPU on the focus points and guarantees a performance improvement in virtual and augmented reality without perceptible loss in the quality of the graphics.
Valve Steam Deck
We have written a lot about the hybrid between console and PC by Valve, but the picture has evolved between statements, small changes and bad news. First, in answering doubts about the capabilities of the hardware, the engineers ensured optimized performance for the titanic Steam library, including future titles. They also specified that the machine can handle any game, both in 16: 9 and 16:10 format and therefore with 800p resolution, guaranteeing 30fps per second with the latest generation titles. That said, for less demanding video games, the 60 Hz refresh of the laptop screen remains valid, allowing you to play at 60 fps possibly working on the settings, easily scalable as on a normal PC.
Speaking of small, however important, changes, there has been a change in the car’s specification. In this regard Valve has changed the type of 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory that we will find inside the Steam Deck, moving from dual-channel RAM to quad-channel RAM. In this way it has increased the bandwidth, pushing it from 44 to 88 GB / s, in order to avoid any risk of bottlenecks. No doubt good news, considering that it does not involve price increases. But between modification and high pre-orders, and here we come to the less good news, Valve has postponed the availability of its console which will not be shipped starting from December 2021, but during the first quarter of 2022, at least for the European market.
Intel Core i9-12900K: primi benchmark
New suspects have sprung up on the net benchmark per l’Intel Core i9-12900K, presumably obtained from the first samples that are finished, it is not known how, on the black market. The tests could be bogus and they are not yet definitive chips, which could lead to different values with the versions arriving on the market at the end of the year, but the alleged values seem to confirm the previous rumors on the performance advantage 11% in multi-threaded computing, compared to AMD’s 5950X.
In the case of the Intel processor, it must be said, we are talking about 16 cores, but half of these are designed for efficiency and lack Hyperthreading, for a total of 24 threads against the 32 of the powerful AMD processor. But it’s not the brute power that amazes. On the other hand we are facing a generational leap that reduces the weight of that 11% advantage of a CPU that will have to deal with the seeded Zen 3+ processors, a revision that promises an increase in power of 16. %. But the new AMD processors could be at a major disadvantage in single threaded computing. With 810 points reported by leaker Raichu, among other things with the Cinebench R20 test which usually rewards AMD CPUs, the flagship processor of the family Intel Alder Lake it would be 26% faster in single-thread than the flagship processor of the AMD Zen 3 series.
Assemble that Passes you is a weekly column that collects the main news related to gaming PC hardware and offers three configurations, divided by price ranges, designed for those who want to assemble or update their machine. As usual, suggestions are welcome and corrections welcome, as long as the tones are adequate. Another tip is to read the paragraphs presenting the configurations before you do battle in the comments.
The budget configuration is the one oriented to savings but it is not certain that there is no room for the upgrade where interesting prospects arise. The proposals in this range include solutions designed for low-tech games and 1080p-oriented builds.
For this week’s CPU we return to the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 which is slightly lower than the Core i5-10400F with stock frequencies and costs a little more, but can be pushed almost to the levels of the Ryzen 5 3600X with a not too expensive B550 and without the need to change the stock cooler.
We have no alternatives, however, for the GPU, blocked by the higher prices of the higher models and the lack of new generation alternatives. We are therefore satisfied once again with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1030, limited but sufficient for light gaming in 1080p.
In the gaming segment there are usually those components that allow you to face the game on the PC without fear and to hold on for some time. The frame rate showdown is just around the corner but, with a good base, it’s always possible to sell the old GPU before it devalues too much so you can buy a new one just in time to take on the next hardware-smashing blockbuster.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, available for some time at a lower price than the recommended one, is a great processor, but gives way to the cheaper Core i7-10600 which on a B560 cannot be overclocked, but enjoys memory overclocking and support PCIe 4.0
Moving on to the GPU we are faced with a substantially immobile landscape. The Italian market is finally acknowledging the price drops of GPUs seen in Europe, but our prices are even higher than in other markets and the downward trend has stopped, perhaps due to the need for retailers to cover the money spent. previously on models that were sold at three times the recommended price during a certain period.
The pushed configuration makes sense only for those who aim for high resolutions, aware that luxury often does not go hand in hand with rationality. On the other hand, let’s face it, who doesn’t like having a nice engine under the hood even if you have to respect the speed limit?
A slight increase of the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X brings us back to the court of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X which, stable for some time at 415 euros, is a perfect processor for those who look at in-game performance and a high-end or extreme GPU, but it doesn’t need excessive raw power from the processor’s point of view.
The problem, as usual, is created by the GPU due to the too high price, despite the reductions, of both the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080. But the prices are falling and we are aiming for further reductions in the coming weeks, while catching the lowest price of the GeForce RTX 3080 on the European market.