SSDs are ostensibly a victim of their own success. Competitive pricing has made SSDs more accessible at the consumer level in addition to a proliferated demand in other market segments, such as the obvious smartphones and laptops. Both of these segments have seen the implementation of NAND flash-based storage for increasing capacity while minimizing the form and footprint of devices, not to mention power savings and noise reductions.
EVGA has been facing thermal issues with its ACX series coolers, as pointed out by Tom's Hardware - Germany earlier this week. We originally thought these issues to be borderline acceptable, since Tom's was reporting maximum VRM temperatures of ~107-114C. These temperatures would still allow EVGA's over-spec VRM to function, granted its 350A abilities, as that'd still land the output around 200A to the GPU. A GTX 1080 will pull somewhere around 180A without an extreme overclock, so that was borderline, but not catastrophic.
Unfortunately for EVGA, temperature increases to the VRM have nearly exponential increases in damage. Hitting a temperature greater than 125C on the VRM with EVGA's design could result in MOSFET failure, effectively triggered by a runaway thermal scenario where the casing is blown, and OCP/OTP might not be enough to prevent the destruction of a FET or two. The VRM derates and loses efficiency at this point, and would be incapable of sustaining the amperage demanded by higher power draw Pascal chips.
Retail powerhouse Newegg is allegedly now majority-owned by Hangzhao Liaison Interactive Information Technology Co., Ltd, heretofore known as Over-compensator, Inc. UDN reports that the company with the big name now holds nearly 56% of Newegg through a $2.63B USD investment. This would allow China-based Liaison Interactive to claim hardware/software retail domination of US and Chinese markets. Granted, Google Translate does say that Newegg is the second-largest “US egg supplier in China,” so we can't interpret much beyond the alleged major investment made by Liaison.
System integrator iBUYPOWER, peripheral maker Logitech, motherboard maker ASUS, and Riot games joined forces to aid UCI in opening its new eSports arena. The venue makes UCI the first top 200 public school with an eSports program, and opens the door for its participation in collegiate eSports tournaments. To our knowledge, there are presently nine other US universities with eSports programs that may allow for future 10-way contests at a collegiate level.
The university's arena hosted CLG Red & Blue teams, Immortals, and Selfless this weekend, alongside manufacturers nVidia, NZXT, ADATA, and iBUYPOWER. The venue contains sixty systems – a split between mITX Revolt 2 boxes and ATX NZXT N450 boxes – with Intel i7-6700K CPUs and GTX 1080 FE GPUs. Logitech has equipped each box with a G410 TKL keyboard, G303 mouse, and G430 headset, ASUS provided the Z170 motherboards, and iBUYPOWER did the system assembly (and provision of the Revolt 2).
As we reported on August 4, the Class Action lawsuit against nVidia has been settled in courts. The final payout amount is pending approval (full resolution by December, in theory), but owners of the GTX 970 may now submit claims to retrieve a $30 payment per GTX 970 purchased, should those owners feel entitled to the funds.
Claims can be filed on the GTX 970 Settlement website. The claim filing deadline is November 30, 2016, with the final approval hearing scheduled for December 7, 2016. Claims must be filed before the deadline and will not be paid out until after the final approval hearing goes through.
The recently popular German-based Denuvo Anti-Tampering software has provided some safety for game developers, though we've found it cumbersome at times. Denuvo has been used for several of the biggest recent game releases, including Doom, Mirror's Edge, and Just Cause 3. A Bulgarian hacker known only as "Voksi" discovered a workaround method through Steam that allowed for a full game, such as Doom, to be spoofed as a different game's free demo, also available through Steam. Steam quickly closed the loophole, but it is unclear if the Denuvo software itself has been cracked or simply reworked through the loophole, as only one fully cracked Denuvo game was released out of the loophole. Until now, Denuvo has remained the most impenetrable DRM gaming software in recent history. While this is an incredible feat, Denuvo can also affect legitimate users in a negative way (as all DRM seems to do).
Prominent GPU and CPU company AMD has recently released its financial results for the second quarter of 2016. In the past, AMD has struggled to stay out of the red financially, and the results today aren’t very different, but AMD has improved its posture over 1Q16.
As seen in the table below, AMD’s revenue has grown from $823 million to $1.027 billion, rivaling revenue of 1Q15. The net loss is a net loss of $40 million, up from a net loss of $109 million in 1Q16, and $180 million in 1Q15. Similarly, the operating loss for 2Q16 is $8 million, compared to Q1’s $68 million and 1Q15’s $137 million. This change is primarily due to lower operating expenses and layoffs.
Intel and AMD dominated the entire CPU market in the 90s and early 2000s, but ARM-based SOCs have taken a large chunk of their business. The ARM architecture and RISC instruction set is used in almost every phone today and can be found in Chromebooks, tablets, TVs, and servers.
ARM is a unique company as it licenses its patents to technology companies to use for a fee; in turn, ARM often receives royalties from these deals. The company actually doesn’t make any physical CPUs like Intel and AMD, so almost all of its money comes from patent deals with other companies to take its designs and create SOCs, which are then put into tablets, phones, or other products.
We've already had hands-on experience testing AMD's new 16.7.1 driver update, following the 16.6.2 release with the RX 480 cards. Our testing instituted an early beta version of the driver for our 4GB vs. 8GB RX 480 benchmark, which showed that initially reported GTA V stuttering issues have since been resolved.
Unknown to us at the time of the 4GB vs. 8GB benchmark, the 16.7.1 update also aims to resolve some of the PCIe bus power draw concerns. AMD's pre-weekend statement indicated an update on July 5, which was released as below:
Update: We have received the following statement from EA Games:
"I checked with our dev team they confirmed that Origin for PC and Mac allows players to activate EA games (including Star Wars Battlefront) five times a day. If you’ve activated a game five times that day, you’ll be able to activate the game again 24 hours after your first activation of the day. This includes installs on new machines and new hardware configurations. If you are encountering something different I’m happy to put you in touch with a dev to remedy the roadblock." (Angella Wong, EA Games Integrated Communications Manager).
Our 24-hour window should tick-over soon and allow us to validate this. If this is the case, the Denuvo DRM limitation on hardware changes would largely be a non-issue -- as stated in the original piece (below), no normal user would be feverishly switching hardware 4-5 times in 24 hours. We will test and report back. Original content follows.
As an aside, here's our Mirror's Edge Catalyst GPU benchmark, now finalized.
EA's new Mirror's Edge Catalyst uses DRM to impose activation limits on the game, restricting total hardware configuration changes to four. That means that, over your life of ownership, you may have to buy the game multiple times if hoping to return in several years from now. We discovered this previously with Star Wars: Battlefront – another EA Origin title – and actually ended up buying it multiple times just to test GPUs.
We've gotten through four video cards in our GPU suite (which spans more than 10 total devices) and have already encountered the dreaded “We're Sorry. An error has occurred. Too many computers have accessed this account's version of Mirror's Edge Catalyst.”
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