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Not long ago, AMD unveiled the AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper WX Series processors with record-setting performance for serious content creation applications that generally scale across many CPU cores. The AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper 2970WX and 2990WX achieved such breakneck performance with 24 or 32 cores spread across four processor dies: two with direct access to local memory, and two with access to memory via the Infinity Fabric. This smart design enabled backwards compatibility with existing AMD X399-based motherboards, too!

 

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX and 2990WX have four dies containing 6 or 8 cores each, respectively. Two of the dies have direct memory access (blue), and two access memory over the Infinity Fabric (red).

 

What about apps that weren’t designed to be so scalable? There are instances where the entire application (“process”), or specific workloads spawned by that process (“threads”), can achieve the best performance when they’re executed on the two CPU dies with local/direct memory access. We’ve been working hard to extend a helping hand to these applications, and we looked to our past for inspiration.

 

Thinking back to the 1st Generation AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper processor, AMD Ryzen™ Master was updated to add a toggle for Local Mode or Distributed Mode. These modes tuned the performance of applications that preferred lower memory latency or higher memory bandwidth, respectively. This capability required a system reboot but, according to reviewers like TechSpot, there was a clear performance upside when an application was paired with its most favored mode.

 

With the “favored modes” in mind, that brings us to today. What if Ryzen™ Threadripper WX Series CPUs could have some sort of “favored mode” to ensure the best performance for both heavy and lightly-threaded apps? What if it could be switched on the fly without a reboot? All of this is possible with a new feature we’re calling Dynamic Local Mode.

 

What is Dynamic Local Mode?

Dynamic Local Mode is a new piece of software that automatically migrates the system’s most demanding application threads onto the Threadripper™ 2990WX and 2970WX CPU cores with local memory access. In other words: the apps that prefer local DRAM access will automatically receive it, and apps that scale to many cores will be free to do so.

 

What is the Benefit of Dynamic Local Mode?

In the applications we have tested to date, AMD has observed performance improvements of up to 47% with Dynamic Local Mode enabled.1 The below diagram shows a variety of games and applications aided by the new feature, and AMD expects other applications that we have not yet analyzed may also benefit. But we also want to be clear about the fact that not every application will see a benefit, as not every application demonstrates the threading behaviors that Dynamic Local Mode is designed to assist. Even so, it's clear that some processes really take a liking to Dynamic Local Mode and it's quite satisfying to see such a speedup from a new and free feature for your platform.

 

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See footnotes at the end of this blog for system configuration and raw data. Please note that your results may vary with system configuration and drivers.

 

How is Dynamic Local Mode implemented?

Dynamic Local Mode is implemented as a Windows® 10 background service that measures how much CPU time each thread on the system is consuming. These threads are then ranked from most to least demanding, and the top threads are automatically pushed to the CPU cores that contain direct memory access. Once these cores are consumed by work, additional threads are scheduled and executed on the next available CPU core. This process is continuous while the service is running, ensuring the most demanding threads always get preferential time on cores with local memory. (As a corollary, insignificant threads are pushed to other dies.)

 

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How is Dynamic Local Mode different from Local Mode?

A bit of background is required to answer this question. For AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ X Series CPUs, every processor die has directly-connected memory. Local Mode and Distributed Mode change how the operating system sees these CPUs:

  • In Local Mode, the OS sees two partitions called “NUMA nodes,” each with one die’s worth of CPU cores and RAM. Local Mode sends hints to the OS that threads and their memory contents should be kept within the same node (if possible) to minimize memory latency.
  • In Distributed Mode, the OS sees a single large pool (“UMA node”) with all available dies and memory grouped together.

But, in a system where not every die has direct memory access, the system must necessarily be configured with four NUMA nodes: two with CPU cores plus local RAM, two with CPU cores and no local RAM. Threads will always fill the nodes with local memory first, but this is a first-come, first-served affair in Windows® that sometimes results in threads being executed remotely from their memory footprint.

 

In such a system, some other mechanism is needed to preferentially execute threads on cores with local memory. Dynamic Local Mode is spiritually like Local Mode in that it also endeavors to keep threads and their memory contents together. However, unlike traditional Local Mode, Dynamic Local Mode:

  1. Operates on-the-fly without a reboot to toggle between modes
  2. Ensures that demanding threads are executed on dies with local memory
  3. Does not fundamentally change how the operating system sees the processor’s resources

 

What if I want to disable Dynamic Local Mode?

Dynamic Local Mode is configured as a Windows service. You may simply stop and disable the service to prevent Dynamic Local Mode from running, or you can toggle the feature on and off within AMD Ryzen™ Master.

 

What processors is Dynamic Local Mode for?

Just to be clear, Dynamic Local Mode is a new feature for the AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ 2990WX and 2970WX processors. Only these AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ processors have a mixed memory access design wherein some dies have direct memory access, while others access memory across the Infinity Fabric.

 

Dynamic Local Mode available starting October 29th

Beginning October 29th, Dynamic Local Mode will be a new package included with the latest version of AMD Ryzen™ Master. Downloading AMD Ryzen™ Master on or after the afternoon of 10/29 will automatically configure Dynamic Local Mode on your system if it contains an AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper 2990WX or 2970WX processor (also available starting 10/29). Looking further ahead, AMD also plans to open the feature up to even more users by including Dynamic Local Mode as a default package in the AMD Chipset Drivers.

 

Let the countdown begin! We’re looking forward to your feedback.

 

 


 

Robert Hallock is a technical marketing guy for AMD's CPU division. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

 

Footnotes:

1. Testing by AMD Performance Labs as of 10/4/2018. Results presented in order of Dynamic Local Mode OFF vs. ON (% difference). All games tested at 1920x1080 with the graphics API and in-game graphics preset noted. Far Cry 5 (DirectX 11/Ultra): 48 FPS vs. 53 FPS (10% faster); PUBG (DirectX 11/Ultra): 99 FPS vs. 111 FPS (12% faster); Battlefield 1 (DirectX 12/Ultra): 136 FPS vs. 200 FPS (47% faster); Alien: Isolation (DirectX® 11/Ultra): 199 FPS vs. 234 FPS (18% faster); Unreal Engine Compile Time: 954 seconds vs. 810 seconds (15% faster); SPECwpc® V2.1 Rodinia euler3d_cpu: 4.25 vs. 3.36 (21% faster). Average of results less Battlefield 1 outlier: 15.2% faster. System configuration: AMD Ryzen Threadripper Reference Motherboard, AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, 4x8GB DDR4-3200, GeForce GTX 1080 (driver 399.24), Samsung 850 Pro SSD, Windows 10 Pro x64 (RS4). Results may vary with drivers and system configuration. SPECwpc® V2.1 is the latest version of SPECwpc® as of 9 October, 2018. Additional information about the SPEC benchmarks can be found at www.spec.org/gwpg. RP2-36

The Assassin’s Creed series returns in an ancient Greece setting this year, just after the Peloponnesian War—and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic addition to the franchise. Featuring more RPG elements than before, this iteration has you pausing between dialogue choices, customizing your skills through the skill tree, immersing in well-written side quests and delightfully, indulging in a bit of romance.

 

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Starting off with your initial protagonist choice between Alexios or Kassandra, you start building upon their sassy base personality immediately (I chose Kassandra, and simply put, she’s witty, badass and hilarious).

 

There are numerous RPG elements to discover as you dive further into the game, making Assassin’s Creed Odyssey the most unique and dynamic adventure in the series yet. By the time I left my home island sailing for adventure, I had plenty of choices to make: which side do I choose in this overarching war? Which mercenary do I hunt down before they get to me first? Do I kill the soldiers who attacked me or let them go?

 

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And then there are the choices you make that will have heavy repercussions later, even when you think you’ve made the morally correct choice. There is no right or wrong: you shape your own path in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and no doubt you’ll pause at several moments torn between one choice or another.

 

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If you want to get started with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the ancient Greece setting is breathtaking when you pair your Radeon™ RX graphics card with a FreeSync-capable monitor. We highly recommend you take advantage of Radeon FreeSync™, as this technology will make sure your frames are kept smooth and stutter-free during action-heavy scenes.

 

Here’s what Ubisoft recommends for PC specs targeting 30 FPS:

 

 

Minimum

Recommended

Recommended 4K

CPU

AMD FX 6300 @ 3.8 GHz

Ryzen 3 – 1200

AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz

Ryzen 5 - 1400

AMD Ryzen™ 1700X @ 3.8 GHz

GPU

AMD Radeon™ R9 285

AMD Radeon™ R9 290

AMD Radeon™ Vega 64

 

This setup offers a smooth experience while you venture through Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s ancient Greek world, whether you’re hunting down mercenaries or sailing through the warring seas. The open-world sea combat, which returns to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in full naval scale, feels awesome in this title—especially when FreeSync™’s stutter-free tech kicks in for your glorious ship Adrestia glide through the waters like cutting through butter.

 

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This is an Assassin’s Creed title you’ll be spending countless hours on, with so much to explore outside the main story.

 

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available now, or you can pick it up as part of our Raise the Game bundle; when you buy a Radeon™ RX Vega, RX 580 or RX 570 graphics card, you’ll also pick up the title for free (plus two other games, Strange Brigade and Star Control: Origins).

 

 

Before starting, make sure you download the latest AMD driver. You’ll have plenty of moments where you’re in awe of the beautiful ancient Greek scenery, so share your screenshots or clips with us using Radeon ReLive—and don’t forget to tag us on @AMDGaming/@Radeon on Twitter or @AMD on Instagram.

 

Annie Lee, Product & Content Marketing at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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[Originally posted on 09/20/17.]

 

It’s been seven years since the last Quake game and id Software is back in a big way with Quake Champions. Paying homage to the original Quake games, Quake Champions is a fast-paced arena style FPS that keep you on your toes at all times.

 

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The game has a current roster of eleven  unique champions and it continues to grow. Each champion has a unique ability and characteristics for competitors of all playstyles. If you prefer agility in the arena, try out Slash or Nyx. If you prefer a beefy enforcer, Scalebearer or Clutch may be the champion for you.

 

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Performance looks great on the Radeon™ RX Series products. I was able to push above 100 FPS at various resolutions and quality settings with all of our gaming graphics cards paired with my AMD Ryzen 7 1700X system.

 

Recommended System Requirements:

  • CPU: AMD A10-7870K or Intel i5-2400
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7 and later
  • Video Card: Radeon™ R9 390X or higher

 

I tested the game in live team Deathmatch battles as Nyx with our exclusive Radeon Ruby skin.

 

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One thing to note are the minimum framerates I saw when testing each of the cards. Even in the chaotic arena with eight people, minimum framerates stayed above 60 fps. I didn’t run into any stuttering or graphical hitches. Quake Champions is the fastest and most responsive shooter I’ve played. It is a true test of your FPS ability and there is no room for error or graphical glitches. A fraction of a second determines if you frag your opponent or get fragged.

 

For serious gamers, I highly recommend a 144Hz display with Radeon™ FreeSync technology to help ensure you have a competitive edge over your opponents by having a smoother and responsive experience.

 

Settings below are what I used to achieve 100+ fps on my AMD Ryzen 7 1700X based system. Auto Detect Settings changes the resolution scaling which has a significant impact to fps. If you’re looking to tweak performance be sure to experiment with both the resolution scale and graphics quality.

 

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Adam Kozak, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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[Originally posted on 12/04/17.]

 

If you’re looking for a reliable GPU upgrade, look no further than the Radeon RX™ 550.

 

Whether you’re playing a round of Overwatch or gearing up for a Dota 2 match, the Radeon RX 550 is the card that can transform your PC into a solid eSports gaming machine.

 

Behind the screen, here’s the only thing you should worry about: set your strategies, clear obstacles, attain victory. Inside your machine, the Radeon RX 550 will take care of the rest: pump out stutter-free frames with its FreeSync™-ready capabilities1, boost you through intense moments with Radeon Software and push performance to its limit so you can make every moment of your game count.

 

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I know how crucial every second is when you’re playing a match. The moment the countdown is at 0 and you run to your point to prepare the defense, the worst thing that could happen is losing time—which effectively hands the advantage over to your competition. And that lost split-second could be the deciding factor in your loss.

 

Well, we like to look at life half-full. eSports enthusiasts can’t afford this risk, especially when you’re playing in a tournament with so much at stake. Instead of worrying about a split-second that could tank your game, rely on the Radeon RX 550 graphics card to power your real-time instincts and be a deciding factor in your victory.

 

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To show off the Radeon RX 550’s effortless capabilities, I took the MSI Radeon RX 550 for a spin on some of today’s most popular eSports games. I played all these titles on my AMD Ryzen™ 5 1600X processor powered rig at 1080p.

 

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GameSettingAverage FPS
StarCraft IIUltra70
Quake ChampionsHigh (50% resolution)87
OverwatchHigh60
CS:GOHigh114
Rocket LeagueHigh89
League of LegendsVery High157

 

The Radeon RX 550 is more than capable of delivering the frames needed in these games, so set up that next match: the Radeon RX 550 graphics card’s got you covered.

 

Shop the Radeon RX 550:

NEWEGG

AMAZON

BEST BUY

 

Keep a close eye on more Radeon news and deals on our Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Annie Lee, Product & Content Marketing at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. Requires a monitor and AMD Radeon™ graphics, both with FreeSync support. See www.amd.com/freesync for complete details. Confirm capability with your system manufacturer before purchase. GD-127

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[Originally posted on 10/05/17.]

 

Turn 10 is back with Forza Motorsport 7, now available for Windows® 10 and Xbox One systems.

 

I fired up the game on our AMD Ryzen 5 1600X to get a handle of just which video card worked best to give me a consistent 60fps.

 

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Forza Motorsport 7 Preview Different Cars

 

I just ran the benchmark to see which settings made sense, and also decided to also give the game a try to see how well my numbers correlated.  To my surprise performance generally stayed the same and the recommended settings didn’t change.

 

The good news is that even a Radeon RX 550 is going to play this game well at 1080p medium settings.  Higher cards are going to be able to go up to Ultra at their respective resolutions, making this a very system friendly title to add to your PC collection.

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As always, download our latest Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition drivers to get the best experience (17.9.3 or later).

 

Now back to perfecting my full speed crashing technique…

 

 

Adam Kozak, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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[Originally posted on 11/29/17.]

 

The legendary Call of Duty® series is back with its latest installment set in World War II. Published by Activision and developed by SledgeHammer games, travel back in time and relive some of the most significant battles in history in Call of Duty: World War II. Join your brothers in arms and fight against the Axis powers.

 

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Recommended System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-Bit or later
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 5 1600X (or Intel® Core™ i5 2400)
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Radeon™ RX 580 or better

 

Visually this game is incredible. Sprint up the battlefield and infiltrate enemy strongholds. Explosions happen all around you, realistic clouds form and shrapnel cuts through the air with a stunning amount of detail. This game feels like a live action movie, effects, shadows and textures are realistic and require a significant amount of graphics horsepower to drive an immersive experience.

 

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Radeon™ RX graphics are ready to place you in the center of legendary battles. Tested on my AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700X processor powered rig with 16GB ram, here are my recommended settings targeting 60+ fps.

 

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For the best experience in Call of Duty: WWII, grab the latest Radeon™ Software Crimson ReLive Edition Driver: HERE

 

 

Bryan Kong, Product Marketing Specialist at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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[Originally posted on 08/14/17.]

 

You’ve heard us talk about Radeon RX Vega: the next-generation architecture, new geometry engine, high bandwidth cache, 4K gaming, next-level VR and a fantastic ecosystem with Radeon™ FreeSync technology.

 

But now, after unveiling our next high-end generation of Radeon graphics cards at SIGGRAPH 2017, Radeon RX Vega hits shelves today and are now available for enthusiast gamers everywhere.

 

We’ve uncovered the coming extreme gaming era two weeks ago. We showed off the bundles you can get, to enter into a great gaming ecosystem. We’ve shown how others are rallying around Radeon RX Vega. Now, it’s time for you to experience it for yourself.

 

The Choice is Yours

 

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Check the following etailers for the Radeon RX Vega 64  graphics card:

 

Newegg (USA)

 

Amazon (USA)

 

Be sure to check back on this blog for more links.

 

Read up on our available bundles—Radeon Red Pack ($499 USD), Radeon Black Pack ($599 USD) and Radeon Aqua Pack ($699)—if you’re interested in grabbing a full gaming ecosystem along with your Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card. See the full details on the bundles here.

 

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Show Off Your Station

 

Once you claim a Radeon RX Vega graphics card as your own, you’ll want to show off your rig… and we want to see it.

 

Tag us with your rig on Twitter or Instagram with #RXVega—we’ve entered into this era together, and we want to be a part of this chorus for the next-generation, powerhouse battle stations in the PC gaming space.

 

 

Gear up for tomorrow’s games—learn more about why Radeon RX Vega is the graphics card for you and how it’ll prepare you for this extreme era of PC gaming.

 

Follow Radeon on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for everything Radeon RX Vega-related.

 

 

Annie Lee, Product & Content Marketing at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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[Originally posted on 07/17/17.]

 

HP recently released their newest Omen 17 gaming laptop, and it’s packing the power of Radeon RX 580 graphics for maxed-out 1080p visuals and memorable VR experiences. Radeon FreeSync is also on board for smooth, tear-free gaming. Let’s take a closer look!

 

BEST FOR:

  • Smooth, High Quality 1080p/60Hz Gaming
  • VR Premium Gaming & Experiences on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
  • HD Media Consumption
  • Desktop replacement

 

KEY HARDWARE SPECS

  • Radeon RX 580 8GB GPU
  • 17.3” 1080p IPS display
  • Intel Core-i7 7700HQ Processor
  • 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
  • 12GB DDR4 RAM
  • Bang & Olufsen Speaker System
  • Weight: 8.3 pounds

 

BUILD AND PHYSICAL FEATURES

 

The HP Omen 17 makes an attractive first impression with its red and black Omen logo etched onto the brushed aluminum lid (we may be a little biased about that color choice). It’s just the right aesthetic to suggest a hint of luxury beneath its enthusiast gaming exterior.

 

Opening the lid reveals a full-size keyboard with both red accents and red backlighting, along with WASD keys that have a splash of white to immediately draw your fingers to the right place, even in low-lit environments. It’s a keyboard that’s great to look at, with satisfying travel and responsiveness.

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Moving to the sides of the laptop, you realize HP isn’t skimping on connectivity. With USB C, USB 3.0, SD card slot, miniDP + HDMI out, and Ethernet, it has enough ports to double as a suitable desktop replacement.

 

DISPLAY

 

The 1080p IPS display is bright and crisp, and it brings FreeSync along for the ride, giving you smooth framerates, no screen tearing, and reduced input lag compared to screens without variable refresh rates enabled. It’s a transformative technology and a real value-add for any Radeon-based system, so it’s great to see it on a flagship HP system like this. Bonus points for the anti-glare screen, which means you can use the Omen 17 outside without any nasty interference from the pesky summer sun.

 

GAMING PERFORMANCE

 

But let’s get to the big question: what about gaming performance? Since the Omen 17 rides the line between portable and desktop replacement, a 1080p/60fps experience is a must. Good news, then, that it handles the most visually demanding AAA games effortlessly.

 

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The Radeon RX 580 spits out an average 66FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Very High setting and an astounding 73FPS average on HITMAN’s Ultra quality setting with AFx8. Dirt Rally turns in more than 80FPS on the racer’s Ultra setting.1

 

DOOM fans will be thrilled to know that thanks to Vulkan® optimizations, iD’s latest shooter kicks out a blistering 120+ FPS. And that’s running on Ultra, the highest quality setting available.1

 

Overall, it’s an attractive package for gamers looking for a desktop replacement or a reasonably priced notebook that can handle anything you throw at it.

 

 

Jason Evangelho, Sr. Technical Marketing Specialist for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/03/2017 on the 2017 HP Omen 17 Laptop, i7-7700HQ, Radeon™ RX 580, Windows 10, Radeon Driver 17.4.4. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Using DOOM, Dirt Rally, HITMAN on Ultra quality settings at 1080p. Using Rise of the Tomb Raider on Very High quality settings at 1080p. The HP Omen 17 Laptop scored 120, 80, 73, and 66 fps respectively. RX-139

[Originally posted on 08/10/17.]

 

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BEST FOR:

  • Productivity
  • E-Sports Gaming
  • Movies / Music

 

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Summary

 

The HP Power Pavilion 15 Featuring Radeon RX 550 Graphics is a well styled notebook with serious system specs to power gaming and content creation.

 

With a long history in desktop and notebooks, a relatively new addition to the Pavilion brand, Power Pavilion, targets itself towards prosumers looking for a solid set of hardware and storage features.  With some beefy storage specs, discrete graphics armed with full 128-bit performance, and a visual identity sure to stand out from the rest, the Power Pavilion line gets some nice new spec upgrades with the latest Intel i5 7300HQ and Radeon™ RX 550 graphics.

 

Key Hardware Specs Reviewed: 15 Inch Notebook

  • 1080p Display
  • Intel-i5 processor (7300HQ)
  • Radeon™ RX 550 Graphics (Driver: 17.6.2)
  • 8GB of DDR4 Memory
  • 2TB Hard Drive
  • 2.358 kg (5.2 lbs)

 

Build & Physical Features

 

I have to admit, not a fan of green on a notebook, but the well placed accents on the rubber pads beneath the notebook, on the speaker grill above, sides of the trackpad, and the keys themselves make the notebook stand out.

 

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The track pad was intuitive to use and features gesture and multi finger shortcuts, such as two finger scrolling and pinch to zoom. Left click can be activated by pressing down on the left bottom part of the keypad, and right click by moving to the bottom right section of the trackpad.

 

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Trying to open up the HP Power Pavilion notebook was no picnic. The sleek design of this notebook means it’s rather difficult to pry open and probably not meant to offer easy upgrades.  But upon doing so, the HP Power Pavilion notebook revealed a few surprises.  Beyond the standard high capacity HardDrive, and a dual fan configuration that pulls air from the bottom of the notebook with the exhaust directed out the back, I was surprised to find an empty M.2 connector to add a speedy SSD, and an empty DIMM slot to increase memory capacity beyond the default 8GB.  Even the large 70W/h battery was a pleasant find (and a good reason why the battery life was exceptional, even during heavy gaming).  The HP Pavilion Power notebook was silent for most workloads, and only spun up for heavy gaming. Even then, I’d say the system never got loud enough to be a bother and the skin temperature was always comfortable.

 

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This notebook features all essential ports, so no need to go shopping for a break out box.  That even includes an Ethernet port which has been a missing feature on a few new notebooks I’ve come across recently.

 

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Ports / Connections:

  • Power Connector
  • 4x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • MicroSD Slot
  • USB-C
  • Headphone output
  • HDMI
  • Network RJ45

 

All hardware is housed in an excellent solid chassis that can be carried in one hand.

 

DISPLAY

 

The HP Power Pavilion sports an decent IPS 1080p panel with anti-glare technology. Details are sharp and colors are perfect for everyday use and gaming.  Specs list the display just below 60% sRGB. If I had a choice at a checkout, I’d probably upgrade to the touch display which is about +$60.

 

Indoor

 

In a bright indoor office environment, we used 90 % brightness.  The anti-glare screen makes things a little darker so anything lower hits the whites rather quickly.  Even at 100% brightness, all of my testing showed incredible battery life.

 

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Outdoor

 

Using any notebook outdoors is not ideal.  With the HP Power Pavilion 15 notebook display output was still visible albeit with a lot less contrast.

 

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PERFORMANCE

 

Synthetic1

 

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Hard Drive2

 

CrystalDisk Mark was used to measure Hard Drive Performance:

 

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Boot Time

 

To measure the speed of this system I measured boot time from power up to the time my cursor no longer showed the spinning icon. My old work laptop with a HDD drive took over a minute to boot.

 

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Gaming

 

All tests were done on the latest driver and plugged into the wall. For all new laptops, we recommended updating to the latest driver for the best performance.

 

3DMark Time Spy3

 

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3dMark FireStrike4

 

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League of Legends5

 

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League of Legends ran amazing and stayed above 100 fps with all settings maxed out at 1080p. The IGP for some reason was considerably slower and never once reached 60fps, something the Radeon RX was consistently above in our testing.

 

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Overwatch6

 

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The Radeon RX 550 was absolutely needed to make Overwatch a playable gaming experience.  The HP Power Pavilion delivered consistent high framerates when at High settings, guaranteeing a great level of performance for this popular competitive game.  Something definitely looked odd disabling the integrated graphics, but the consistent performance of the Radeon RX 550 demonstrates solid performance in the HP Power Pavilion 15.

 

20-HP-Pavillion-rx550-16.png

 

Productivity7,8

 

Discrete Radeon RX 550 graphics feature 128-bit memory which will help performance in content creation related tasks.  Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere leverage OpenCL to process a lot of work on the GPU itself.

 

As usual, we tested by running a sequence of filters and effect in Adobe Photoshop (2017). A 4K image (300 dpi) was rotated 180 degrees, crystalized by a factor of 10, blurred using the Gaussian Blur tool by a factor of 1 pix, sharpened using the Smart Sharpen tool and rotated again by 180 degrees.

 

On Adobe Premiere, we tested with a 30 second 1080p mp4 video. A 30-second 1080p mp4 video clip was edited with a combination of scaling, sharpening (85), and lens distortion.

 

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BATTERY9

 

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The battery life on the HP Power Pavilion was strong thanks to its 70Wh battery.  Even though the system was sporting a 15 inch display, it easily lasts a typical working day for general usage. The 70 Wh battery powered the PCMark 8 Mainstream gaming test for almost 4 hours, while a competitive laptop with 940MX graphics ran out of power after 1.5 hours. Idling with the screen on at 90% a comfortable indoor brightness resulted in 11 hours of run time before the notebook auto shutdown.

 

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CONCLUSION

 

If you’re looking for a great performing stylish notebook, then the HP Power Pavilion delivers.  Well engineered, with a full 128-bit graphics card, room to upgrade, and a great price ($640US on hp.com at the time of this article), it’s hard not to consider this laptop to replace your old aging notebook.

 

Detailed Specs

Radeon RX 550 Graphics
Boost Clock1287 MHz
Peak Performance1.65 TFLOPs
Memory Size2 GB GDDR5
Memory width128 bit
Effective Memory Speed6 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth96 GB/s

 

 

Adam Kozak, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Radeon™ RX 550, Windows 10, Radeon Driver 17.6.2. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Using the PCMark 10 extended benchmark, the laptop scored 3275 (Total), 5378 (Productivity), 4690 (Essentials), 3886 (Digital Content Creation), 2172 (Gaming). Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-140
  2. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Radeon™ RX 550, Windows 10, Radeon Driver 17.6.2. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Using the Crystal DiskMark benchmark, the laptop scores were recorded for Seq Q32T1, 4K Q32T1, Seq, 4K. Read scores were 110.2 MB/s, .79 MB/s,,109.3 MB/s, 0.407 MB/s respectively.  Write scores were 100.1 MB/s, 0.216  MB/s, 24.33  MB/s, 0.1  MB/s respectively. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-141
  3. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Using the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the Radeon™ RX 550 with Radeon Driver 17.6.2. scored 1287.  The internal graphics using HD 630 and driver 21.20.16.4599 scored 350. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-142
  4. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Using the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, the Radeon™ RX 550 with Radeon Driver 17.6.2. scored 3534.  The internal graphics using HD 630 and driver 21.20.16.4599 scored 779. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-143
  5. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Playing League of Legends at 1920×1080 on High settings, the Radeon™ RX 550 with Radeon Driver 17.6.2. averaged 109 fps.  The internal graphics using HD 630 and driver 21.20.16.4599 averaged 9 fps. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-144
  6. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. Playing Overwatch at 1920×1080 on High settings, the Radeon™ RX 550 with Radeon Driver 17.6.2. averaged 102 fps.  The internal graphics using HD 630 and driver 21.20.16.4599 averaged 9 fps. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-145
  7. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. When using the Adobe Photoshop (2017) program a 4K image (300 dpi) was rotated 180 degrees, crystalized by a factor of 10, blurred using the Gaussian Blur tool by a factor of 1 pix, sharpened using the Smart Sharpen tool and rotated again by 180 degrees.  Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. When using the Adobe Photoshop (2017) program a 4K image (300 dpi) was rotated 180 degrees, crystalized by a factor of 10, blurred using the Gaussian Blur tool by a factor of 1 pix, sharpened using the Smart Sharpen tool and rotated again by 180 degrees. Rendering the picture the Radeon™ RX 550 and Intel HD 630 IGP rendered the clip in 26 and 49 seconds respectively with Graphics Acceleration on and with OpenCL enabled. All times are an average of 3 test runs.  Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers.  RX-146
  8. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.   PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. When using the Adobe Premier (2017) program a 30-second 1080p mp4 video clip was edited with a combination of scaling, sharpening (85), and lens distortion. Rendering the video on the Radeon™ RX 550 and Intel HD 630 IGP took 20 and 54 seconds respectively with Graphics Acceleration on and with OpenCL enabled. All times are an average of 3 test runs.  Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers.  RX-147
  9. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of 7/11/2017 on the 2017 HP Power Pavilion Laptop, i5-7300HQ, Windows 10.  Acer Aspire F15 15.6”, Intel i7-7500U, Nvidia 940MX, Nvidia Driver 382.53, Windows 10.  PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. In the Idle battery test, screen 90% brightness, The HP Pavilion Power auto-shutdown after 666 minutes.  PCMark8 Battery test (Mainstream Gaming 1 and 2) resulted in battery life of 222 minutes for the HP Pavilion Power and 115 minutes for the Acer Aspire F15.  Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers.  RX-148

00.JPG

[Originally posted on 07/26/17.]

 

A key focus in PC gaming in recent years has been providing smooth, responsive gaming experiences. The goal has been to produce consistent and fluid animation in combination with minimal input lag—the shortest possible delay between pressing a key and seeing a response on-screen.

 

Since the beginning of PC graphics, one of the biggest problems on this front has been synchronization between the game’s animation and the display’s update rate. Most displays update themselves at a fixed rate, typically at 60Hz or 60 times per second, in fixed steps. Meanwhile, games and other 3D graphics applications can produce new frames of animation at different rates, and those frame rates tend to vary over time. Often, much of what we perceive as slowdowns or sluggishness when gaming involves poor interactions between these two timing loops.

 

In fact, on a 60Hz display, animation can look more uneven when a game is running at 40 FPS than at 30 FPS, because at 40 FPS, the display is updated in an elliptical pattern:

 

new-40FPS.png

*Game images from Quake Champions1

 

Versus a more even pattern at 30 FPS:

 

new-30FPS.png

*Game images from Quake Champions

 

You’re seeing a less pleasing pattern of animation, even though the GPU is cranking out frames at a higher rate, thanks to a timing sync issue between the game and the display.

 

We’ve come up with some outstanding technology to address this problem, most notably Radeon™ FreeSync technology for compatible monitors with variable refresh rates. I could talk about the theory all day, but you have to see FreeSync in action in order to appreciate it properly. Once you’ve experienced it, you won’t ever want to go back to gaming on a fixed-refresh display.

 

FreeSync as it stands now is excellent, but we can do even more to help owners of fixed- and variable-refresh displays alike. We’ve been working on this problem ahead of the Radeon™ Vega RX graphics launch, and the result is a new feature known as Enhanced Sync. Enhanced Sync is included in Radeon™ Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2, and it’s supported on the upcoming Radeon RX Vega cards and on “Polaris”-based cards in the Radeon™ RX 400 and Radeon™ RX 500 series.

 

Enhanced Sync looks to tackle two different aspects of the GPU-display synchronization task, with the goal of providing a better combination of responsiveness and image quality.

 

The first problem it tackles is what happens when the game wants to run faster than the display’s refresh rate. It’s nice when your PC is able to produce frames faster than your monitor can display them, but dealing with that situation still involves compromises.

 

One way to handle this scenario is with traditional vsync, where the display is updated with a new, completed frame at each refresh interval. Doing so looks nice and generally produces smooth animation, but it also effectively caps the game’s frame rate at the speed of the display refresh. For instance, on a 60Hz display, you’d be limited to 60 FPS. For many games, that also means that user inputs are only sampled 60 times per second, because the speed of the game loop is tied to the frame rate.  As a result, traditional vsync can increase input lag and reduce responsiveness, which is why many gamers elect to disable vsync.

 

Trouble is, going without vsync has its own problems. Without vsync, the driver will flip to a new display buffer as soon as the GPU completes a frame—even if the display is in the middle of drawing that frame on the screen. This approach cuts input lag, but it also leads to a nasty artifact called tearing, where portions of two or more frames are shown on-screen at once, often with visible seams running horizontally across the display. At high frame rates, one may see portions of many different frames on the screen at once, seriously compromising image integrity.

 

04-Tearing.png

 

*Game images from Quake Champions

 

Enhanced Sync is a third approach to this problem. It lets the game run as fast as it wants without capping frame rates. With Enhanced Sync enabled, a game could in theory run at 240 FPS on a 60Hz display without issue. But Enhanced Sync doesn’t tear in this case. Instead, when it comes time for the monitor to draw a new frame, the most recently completed frame is displayed on the screen. Some older frames may be dropped if they are not needed. This approach maintains smooth animation, reduces tearing, and improves responsiveness by reducing input lag.

 

To get a sense of how well it works, we measured input lag for the two traditional vertical refresh sync modes (on and off) against Enhanced Sync in Overwatch using a high-speed camera. In this case, the GPU was able to run Overwatch at about 120 FPS unconstrained. These results show the amount of time that passes between a click and a response for each mode. As you can see, Enhanced Sync produces click-to-response times similar to vsync off—without compromising visual integrity by tearing2.

 

05-Enhanced-Sync-Decreases-Latency.jpg

 

So that’s the first problem Enhanced Sync addresses, and I think it’s a better solution than the traditional approaches to vsync.

 

The second problem Enhanced Sync addresses is at the other end of the performance spectrum: what happens when the game runs much slower than the display’s refresh rate? Low frame rates present a different sort of challenge.

 

With traditional vsync, if the system can’t produce a new frame in time for the monitor’s next refresh interval, then the old frame is repeated again, and we wait another entire interval before updating the screen. Those waits can add up. On a 60Hz display, if the system can’t get a frame out every interval, then it’s immediately limited to 30 FPS or even 20 FPS after that. Frame rates will move up and down in stair-step fashion, and we tend to perceive this effect as stutter or slowdowns (the technical term for this stair-step effect is quantization). Worse still, stepping down to such low frame rates increases input lag and compromises responsiveness.

 

Enhanced Sync deals with this problem by taking a dynamic approach. Generally, Enhanced Sync will stay synchronized to the display in order to avoid tearing. If the frame rate drops far enough below the display’s refresh rate, though, it will dynamically choose to allow tearing in order to get new information on screen as soon as possible and to avoid that stair-step effect. Enabling tearing is a compromise, but it’s arguably the best way of dealing with this difficult circumstance3.

 

06-Enhanced-Sync-Decreases-Stutter.jpg

 

When Enhanced Sync does allow tearing, users should typically only see a single tearing “seam” on the screen at once, since the frame rate is low. And Enhanced Sync will automatically choose to stop allowing tearing once the game’s frame rate returns to a more comfortable level.

 

So Enhanced Sync improves on traditional vsync by combining two techniques. At high frame rates, it aims to provide a better mix of visual integrity and responsiveness. At lower frame rates, it uses a dynamic algorithm minimize both stuttering and input lag when the going gets tough.

 

At this point, you may be wondering how Enhanced Sync interacts with our FreeSync variable-refresh display technology. I’m happy to report that Enhanced Sync works alongside FreeSync to provide even better experiences.

 

Within the display’s FreeSync range, say 30Hz to 90Hz on some displays, FreeSync operates as usual. Frames are displayed when ready, at low latency, and with no tearing.

 

When the game’s frame rate exceeds the display’s peak refresh rate, Enhanced Sync works like it would with a fixed-refresh monitor in the same situation. The game is free to run as fast as it wants, uncapped, and the latest complete frame is displayed. If your monitor’s peak refresh rate is 90Hz, the game could still run at 120 FPS—without tearing, and with improved responsiveness versus traditional vsync at 90Hz.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, when the frame rate drops well below the FreeSync display’s minimum refresh rate, one of two things will happen.

 

On displays that support low frame-rate compensation (LFC), the FreeSync LFC algorithm kicks in to mitigate stutter without tearing. If LFC isn’t available, then Enhanced Sync will either sync or tear, depending on the application’s vsync settings.

 

I’m especially excited about the combination of Enhanced Sync and FreeSync with LFC. I think of it as a “best of all worlds” sync scenario, providing smooth animation at low latency with no tearing across the broadest possible range. FreeSync is already quite solid, but Enhanced Sync makes it even better.

 

Happily, Enhanced Sync is supported on all recent flavors of DirectX®, from 9 through 12, and it can be enabled in Radeon™ Settings under the vertical refresh sync drop-down menu. If you have a supported Radeon™ GPU, you can download the latest release of Radeon Software Crimson Edition and try it out for yourself. I think you’ll like it.

 

 

 

Scott Wasson, Sr. Manager, Technical Marketing for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. Quake Champions logos and images © 2017 Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media company. All Rights Reserved.
  2. Testing
  3. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of July 10, 2017 on the 8GB Radeon RX 580 with Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2, on a test system comprising of Intel i7 7700K CPU (4.2 GHz), 16GB DDR4-3000 Mhz system memory, and Windows 10 x64 using the game Overwatch on the epic preset. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. At 3840X2160, Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver 17.7.2 and 8GB Radeon RX 580 with Enhanced Sync ON had a 4.2ms2 variance and vsync ON had a 50.4ms2 variance, which is 92% lower variance. All times an average of 3 test runs. Results are estimates and may vary. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RS-151

01-Wolfenstein-2-Top2.png

[Originally posted on 11/01/17.]

 

BJ is back. Developed by MachineGame and published by Bethesda Softworks, Wolfenstein® II: The New Colossus™ is the sequel to Wolfenstein®: The New Order™. It’s 1961, you’re Blazkowicz and your mission is to liberate America from the Nazi empire with the help of your fellow resistance fighters.

 

Recommended System Requirements:

  • Processor: Ryzen™ 5 1600X (or Intel Core i7-4770)
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • OS: Win7, 8.1, or 10 64-Bit
  • Graphics: Radeon™ RX 470 4GB or better

 

I had an outstanding time testing this first-person shooter. There is no shortage of weapon choices to annihilate Nazis with. Take on hordes of enemies at a time and if one gun isn’t enough, take it to the next level by dual-wielding and upgrading your arsenal for maximum fire power.

 

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05-2017.11.01-11.47_01-1244x700.png

 

“When we started development of Wolfenstein II, the choice of graphics API for PC was a simple one. DOOM had already set the stage for what could be done with Vulkan and we wanted to take it to the next level. Using Vulkan when developing has allowed us to utilize the power of AMD’s VEGA graphics chips in ways that were not possible before, giving us fine grained control over the performance and feature set of the GPU without having to sacrifice artistic intent. Combined with the flexibility of AMD’s hardware, Vulkan gives us the artistic freedom to deliver Wolfenstein without compromise.”

-MACHINEGAMES

 

Wolfenstein® II took full advantage of the Vulkan™ API and latest features found on Radeon RX Vega graphics cards. By using the advanced features on the “Vega” GPU such as rapid packed math, multi-threaded command buffer recording, asynchronous compute and shader intrinsics, I averaged 60+ fps at 3440×1440 with Radeon™ RX Vega 56 and at 4K with Radeon™ RX Vega 64.

 

Here are my recommended settings for Wolfenstein® II: The New Colossus™ from testing conducted on my AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700X powered system with 16 GB of DDR4 memory.

 

06-Wolfenstein-2-settings-1246x700.png

 

For the latest performance optimizations for Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, download Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition Driver 17.10.3: HERE

 

Bryan Kong, Product Marketing Specialist at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

roborecall.jpg

[Originally posted on 02/28/17.]

 

Compromise. It’s something many VR developers today deal with in their ongoing quest to nail the right mix of technical features and computational power for the best balance of performance and visual fidelity. Many of today’s big game engines use a technique called deferred rendering. Deferred rendering does all of the geometry work first and then shades pixels.That worked well on the last generation of consoles, but it’s not a great fit for VR.

 

With the forward rendering path in Unreal Engine 4, developed by the amazingly talented engineers at Epic, developers have more choice in how they render for VR, helping to achieve a stunning-looking game while delivering the high frame rates necessary for a good experience.

 

Discussed on stage at AMD’s “Capsaicin” webcast and press event at the 2017 Game Developers Conference, the forward rendering path provides a strong alternative to the popular deferred rendering method, allowing developers to hit the demanding frame rates necessary for smooth VR experiences with improved image quality. Forward rendering has been showcased in games such as Epic Games’ Robo Recall, and is planned in upcoming VR titles from awesome developers like First Contact Entertainment, Limitless Studios, and Survios.

 

Technically Speaking: Deferred vs Forward Rendering

 

Let’s dig in and talk about this a bit. Deferred rendering has a performance cost for each frame, in addition to higher GPU memory and bandwidth requirements compared to forward rendering . While deferred rendering does support some nice features like screen-space reflections, those features are generally too costly to use given VR’s ~90FPS   requirement.

 

Current head mounted display (HMD) resolutions being what they are, VR also really benefits from high-quality edge smoothing. Deferred rendering unfortunately doesn’t mix well with multi-sampled anti-aliasing (MSAA) because there are performance and image quality issues. But MSAA is arguably the best AA technique for VR. Post-process AA methods like FXAA don’t work terribly well with stereo views in VR. If you’ve tried a game that uses it, you know it doesn’t look good.

 

All told, AMD feels that deferred rendering exacts a toll in terms of time, memory, and image quality in VR, and the payoff just isn’t there.

 

The alternative here is to adopt a form of forward rendering. Interestingly, it’s not a new technique; in fact it’s how GPU rendering started. It’s lighter weight, simpler, and faster. Also, forward rendering works nicely with MSAA, letting us improve edge quality very efficiently. So we think forward rendering is often a better fit for VR applications.

 

We’ve worked diligently to test and optimize the forward rendering path in Unreal Engine 4.15 for the best performance on AMD hardware. A number of VR development partners are using Unreal Engine, and we showed the performance benefits during our Capsaicin event at GDC.

 

“AMD has been on a continuous mission to make VR accessible to as many people as possible, and Epic’s forward rendering path in Unreal Engine 4 is a big step in that journey,” said Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “Anyone who has experienced Epic’s Robo Recall will immediately attest to the benefit of forward rendering in VR. We are working with VR developers to explore the benefits of forward rendering, which can result in beautiful, high-performing games on Radeon graphics.”

 

AMD is working with leading game developers to explore the benefits of forward rendering in VR games, including:

 

  • First Contact Entertainment: First Contact Entertainment’s breakout game, “ROM: Extraction” is one of the most visually appealing and exciting VR releases, debuting this past December to rave reviews. Available today, First Contact Entertainment is releasing “Overrun,” a new content expansion to ROM: Extraction that makes use of forward rendering for unprecedented performance.
  • Limitless Studios: Directed by Matthew Ward and built in virtual reality using the Limitless VR Creative Environment, “Reaping Rewards” is an interactive VR experience exploring the emotional choices of a young Grim Reaper as you learn about life and death from your mentor. This interactive character-driven story harnesses forward rendering to bring the experience to life.
  • Survios: Since its Early Access release last year, Survios’ critically-acclaimed and award-winning game “Raw Data” has become a must-have title for all VR gamers. At AMD Capsaicin, Survios unveiled their highly-anticipated new title: “Sprint Vector,” which makes use of Unreal Engine 4.15 and forward rendering. An intense adrenaline platformer, Sprint Vector uses a unique intelligent fluid locomotion system to propel players through high-speed head-to-head races through challenging interdimensional obstacle courses.

 

 

Scott Wasson, Sr. Manager, Technical Marketing for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

01-Windows-10-Creators-Update.png

[Originally posted on 04/11/17.]

 

It is no surprise that Windows 10 has been huge success with gamers. Over 40% of all gamers who use Steam have Windows 10 installed and over 70% have a DirectX®121 compatible GPU2. DirectX®12, which is available in Windows 10, allows developers an opportunity for low level optimizations, letting gamers get the most amount of performance out of their Radeon graphics card. Sniper Elite 4 is one of the newest games which show the benefits of this modern API, delivering up to 24% faster performance when using DirectX®123.

 

Today, Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Creators Update and AMD is ready with Radeon Software 17.4.2. Let’s look at a few key features which are bound to make gaming on Windows even better.

 

Windows Game Mode

 

Windows Game Mode is designed to give the best performance and gaming consistency while using Windows 10. Game Mode works by allocating more CPU and GPU resources specifically to the application which is in the foreground. Specific titles within the Windows Store have already been whitelisted for use although any game within the foreground can benefit from the Game Mode by enabling it within the Game Bar’s settings. Because the game only has to be in the foreground to see the benefits of Windows Game Mode, games are still compatible when in fullscreen, borderless fullscreen or windowed mode. Microsoft predicts about a 2 to 5 percent increase4 in performance which is perfect if you are just on the edge of a solid 60 FPS and need that additional push.

 

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

 

With new games that support HDR, such as Mass Effect™: Andromeda, and the future release of Radeon FreeSync™ 25 monitors, HDR is becoming a standard. For those who do not know what HDR is, HDR is a new visualization technique that allows for lifelike gaming. HDR delivers lifelike gaming with vibrant colors, to show more detail with increased saturation, deeper contrasts, to display more gradients between differences in lighting, and increased brightness, to show realistic lighting effects without compromising shadows. With Windows 10 Creators Edition, HDR can now be enabled within all applications. If a game now supports HDR, the game will now benefit from these enhanced visuals, even in fullscreen, borderless fullscreen and windowed mode.

 

To push gaming further, Radeon Graphics can take advantage of both Windows Game Mode and HDR with the release of Windows 10 Creators Update, starting today.

 

Download Radeon Software 17.4.2 for your Windows 10 Creators Update ready driver and try out some of these features for yourself.6

 

 

Gurman Singh, Software Product Marketing for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. DirectX, Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other jurisdictions.
  2. According to the February 2017 Steam Hardware Survey obtained on March 31st, 2017 http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey
  3. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of February 8th, 2016 on the 8GB Radeon RX 480, on a test system comprising of Intel i7 5960X CPU (3.0 GHz), 16GB DDR4-2666 Mhz system memory, Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver 17.2.1 and Windows 10 x64 using the game Sniper Elite 4 on the ultra settings PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. At 2560x1440, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition driver 17.2.1 and 8GB Radeon RX 480 running Sniper Elite 4 DirectX®11 scored 48.5 FPS and Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.2.1 running Sniper Elite 4 DirectX®12 scored 60.0 FPS, which is 24% faster performance. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RS-110
  4. According to an interview with Ars Technica https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/01/windows-10-game-mode-a-free-fps-boost-of-a-few-percent-with-more-to-come/
  5. Radeon™ FreeSync 2 does not require HDR capable monitors; driver can set monitor in native mode when FreeSync 2 supported HDR content is detected. Otherwise, HDR content requires that the system be configured with a fully HDR-ready content chain, including: graphics card, graphics driver and application. Video content must be graded in HDR and viewed with an HDR-ready player. Windowed mode content requires operating system support. GD-105
  6. © 2017 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, Radeon, and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. DirectX is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other jurisdictions. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

01-shutterstock_549093805-e1511294716810.jpg

[Originally posted on 11/22/17.]

 

If you’ve been lucky enough to try out virtual reality using the most popular PC-connected headsets, you know that they have an astounding ability to offer a sense of “presence”—to convince your brain you’re in another place. VR technology has incredible potential for gaming and other applications, but it’s also rather demanding. If your PC fails to send the next frame of the animation to your headset on time, you can lose that sense of presence. Worse yet, if your system really can’t keep up, repeated dropped frames can make the person wearing the headset feel awfully uncomfortable.

 

To avoid such problems, VR-ready PCs need a good, fast CPU and graphics processor—and the right software to drive it.

 

One of the best ways to meet the challenges of VR is by driving the CPU and GPU quickly and efficiently using DirectX® 12 and Vulkan®, two members of a new class of programming interfaces that give developers more direct access to the hardware. AMD has been a pioneer in next-gen programming interfaces, and we continue to work on building the drivers and software tools needed to enable great experiences.

 

So far, most VR applications on the PC have relied on the older DirectX® 11 infrastructure, but that’s beginning to change. Today, the folks at Futuremark are releasing an update to their popular VRMark® benchmark that adds a new test environment known as the Cyan Room. The Cyan Room benchmark runs exclusively in DirectX® 12, and it’s a nice demonstration of the potential for next-generation tools to make VR more compelling.

 

02-Cyan-Room-1.png

VRMark Cyan Room

 

The Cyan Room also highlights AMD’s continued performance leadership on this front. Here are some initial results from VRMark® Cyan Room, fresh from our performance lab.1

 

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As you can see, the Radeon™ GPUs we tested have clear leads over their direct competition. What’s more, all the Radeon™ GPUs are meeting the key requirement for today’s VR headsets by delivering at least 90 frames per second in this test.1

 

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VRMark® Cyan Room combines this solid performance with rich visuals thanks in part to the efficiency of DirectX® 12.

 

Because DirectX® 12 offers more direct control over the hardware, the developers at Futuremark could schedule work and arrange resources more optimally to make sure each frame of animation is rendered quickly. Meanwhile, asynchronous compute shaders allow multiple types of work to run on the GPU in overlapping fashion, keeping the graphics processor more fully utilized. That’s especially important for Radeon GPUs, which tend to have big, powerful shader arrays and robust support for asynchronous compute.

 

Next-gen tools have benefits on the CPU front, as well. The excellent results above come from a system based on a Ryzen™ 7 1800X processor. DirectX® 12’s more efficient model allowed the Cyan Room’s developers to eliminate unnecessary CPU overhead. At the same time, DirectX® 12’s improved threading allows the application to distribute work more effectively across a Ryzen processor’s multiple CPU cores and hardware threads.

 

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VRMark Cyan Room

 

The VRMark® Cyan Room test points to a future where VR developers use next-generation programming interfaces like DirectX® 12 and Vulkan® to harness the full capacity of Radeon™ and Ryzen™ processors. With that sort of power at their fingertips, game developers should be able to create even more compelling VR experiences going forward.2 Futuremark’s ‘VR benchmark’ can be found here.

 

 

Scott Wasson, Sr. Manager, Technical Marketing for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. Testing conducted by AMD Performance Labs as of November 18, 2017 on the Radeon RX 580 8GB, Radeon RX Vega 56, Radeon RX Vega 64, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition, and GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition on a test system comprising of Ryzen 7 1800X CPU, 16GB DDR4-2933 system memory, and Windows 10 x64. The Radeon graphics cards were tested with Radeon Software 17.11.2 The GeForce cards were tested with the 388.81 driver. PC manufacturers may vary configurations, yielding different results. In VRMark Cyan Room using the no-headset option, the Radeon RX 580 scored 4721. The Radeon RX Vega 56 scored 7437. The Radeon RX Vega 64 scored 7776. The GeForce GTX 1060 6GB scored 3764. The GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition scored 5950. The GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition scored 6437. In VRMark Cyan Room using the no-headset option, the Radeon RX 580 scored 103 FPS. The Radeon RX Vega 56 scored 162 FPS. The Radeon RX Vega 64 scored 170 FPS. The GeForce GTX 1060 6GB scored 82 FPS. The GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition scored 130 FPS. The GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition scored 140 FPS. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-169
  2. ©2017 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, LiquidVR, Radeon, Ryzen, Threadripper, and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. DirectX and Microsoft are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other countries. Vulkan and the Vulkan logo are registered trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc. VRMark is a trademark of Futuremark Ltd. Other product names used in this publication are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective companies.

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[Originally posted on 12/12/17.]

 

Today marks the fourth consecutive time that we are releasing big annual software, I am thrilled to let you know that I genuinely believe that this is AMD’s best and most sophisticated release yet.

 

Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition has been artfully designed and meticulously crafted to unleash the powerful performance and innovation built into Radeon™ Graphics through an incredibly intuitive and utterly beautiful user interface for both PCs and mobile devices.

 

 

Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition introduces an interface that is modern, humanized and can be conveniently tailored to a user’s device and personal preferences. The result is a supercharged, forward-thinking and highly-intuitive experience that lets gamers tailor their gameplay to their unique preferences.

 

  • On the PC side, Radeon™ Settings is enhanced with Radeon™ Overlay, a seamless, natural way to take control of GPU settings directly within the game for the more personalized gaming experience.
  • On the mobile side, AMD Link is a mobile app designed to enable users to track their PC game performance from their smartphone or tablet, monitor their PC’s system info and stay connected to the latest AMD headlines, driver updates, and more with its news feed.

 

Radeon Software core technologies —Radeon™ Chill, Radeon™ WattMan1, Enhanced Sync and Radeon™ ReLive — deliver efficient, smooth, powerful and fun capabilities to fundamentally enrich PC gaming.

 

Let me dive into some most exciting features:

 

Radeon Overlay

 

 

The all-new Radeon Overlay lets gamers take performance to the next level with the ability to monitor, record and fine tune their gameplay without ever leaving the game. The Radeon Overlay provides one-click access to Radeon ReLive, Performance Monitoring, Radeon Chill, Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC), Radeon™ FreeSync technology2, Color Settings:

 

  • Performance Monitoring enables monitoring and recording of frames per second as well as PC system info
  • Radeon ReLive allows convenient recording and streaming of in-game action, so your greatest victories can live on
  • Radeon Chill lets Radeon GPU-powered systems work smarter, not harder. Gamers can now enable/disable Radeon Chill per game with a left-to-right slider allowing for instant framerate adjustments
  • FRTC: Limit uncapped framerates, keeping gamers’ GPUs cool and quiet
  • Radeon FreeSync: minimize tearing on a whim
  • Color Settings lets users redefine their visual experience

 

AMD Link App

 

 

Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition introduces a first-of-its-kind mobile app called AMD Link. Designed with today’s socially-connected, mobile-first world in mind—and with the gamer at its center—the groundbreaking AMD Link app allows users to conveniently access their PC gameplay performance metrics and PC system info on their smartphone and tablet.

 

The app dashboard includes four main sections:

 

  • Performance Monitoring: Users can monitor and track gaming performance on their PC through easy-to-grasp visuals like bar graphs and charts. Users can also easily record performance with the touch of a button.
  • Radeon ReLive: Users can control Radeon ReLive on their PC with a smartphone or tablet. This enables control of Radeon ReLive features, including one-touch capture, streaming and instant replay features, and an easy-to-use gallery feature where users can conveniently view and share screenshots through their own social media accounts.
  • News Feed: Stay connected with the AMD News Feed, which keeps gamers up to date on all the latest AMD news. Users can receive info about AMD products, customize their AMD social feeds, as well as have the option to share opinions, tips and feedback across various social channels.
  • Notifications: Receive the latest and greatest updates related to AMD Link, including real-time notifications each time a new driver is released.

 

Radeon Chill

 

As one of the most popular core technologies of Radeon Software, Radeon Chill has redefined the way users save power while gaming.

 

With Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, Radeon Chill extends support to countless number of games, allowing you to take advantage of quiet, cool and responsive gaming in your favorite titles.

 

Radeon WattMan

 

With Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition, custom profiles can be saved on your PC, reloaded at a later point and shared with the Radeon user community. A user can also download others’ profiles from the community and enable them on the user’s PC to create a gaming experience that’s uniquely tailored to enhance that machine’s performance.

 

Radeon ReLive

 

Reliving the excitement of top gaming moments just got a lot simpler, seamless, and more engaging. Great new features include chat integration, transparent backgrounds, windowed mode capture, separate audio track capabilities and more.

 

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Enhanced Sync

 

Now available for games based on DirectX® 9, 11, 12 and Vulkan® APIs as well as on all Radeon GCN-based GPUs, GCN-based GPU combinations and AMD Eyefinity Technology3 display combinations.

 

So download Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition here— and experience heart-pounding action with Radeon graphics.

 

Sasa Marinkovic, Head of VR and Software Marketing for the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites and references to third party trademarks are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

 

 

  1. Overclocking AMD processors, including without limitation, altering clock frequencies / multipliers or memory timing / voltage, to operate beyond their stock specifications will void any applicable AMD product warranty, even when such overclocking is enabled via AMD hardware and/or software. This may also void warranties offered by the system manufacturer or retailer. Users assume all risks and liabilities that may arise out of overclocking AMD processors, including, without limitation, failure of or damage to hardware, reduced system performance and/or data loss, corruption or vulnerability. GD-106
  2. Requires a monitor and AMD Radeon™ graphics, both with FreeSync support. See www.amd.com/freesync for complete details. Confirm capability with your system manufacturer before purchase. GD-127
  3. AMD Eyefinity technology supports up to six DisplayPort monitors on an enabled graphics card. Supported display quantity, type and resolution vary by model and board design; confirm specifications with manufacturer before purchase. To enable more than two displays, or multiple displays from a single output, additional hardware such as DisplayPort-ready monitors or DisplayPort 1.2 MST-enabled hubs may be required. A maximum of two active adapters is recommended for consumer systems. See amd.com/eyefinityfaq for full details.