Over the last couple of days, we have received information that would indicate nVidia is not moving to HBM 2 for their consumer GPUs (outside of some extremely high-end models). Instead, they appear to be focusing on improvements found in GDDR5X and GDDR6. Conversely, AMD appears to be focusing on HBM for many of their high-end and even some mid-range cards. The two very different paths has sparked something of a debate amongst fans of both products (as you can imagine). The questions are, why chose one over the other at this point and is HBM a truly viable option for AMD?
This is going to be a little bit of a departure from how we would normally approach covering specific technology. Instead of addressing the state of hardware based on what we have actually worked with, we are going to look at VR from the standpoint of a consumer looking to buy for the first time. There are a couple of reasons to do this; the first is that we do not have either an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or any other PC based VR technology. We do have the Oculus powered Gear VR, but that is in a category all on its own which we will cover in some detail below. So with the preface out of the way, let’s get started
The experts have all weighed in. 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality. The problem is that the experts are very often wrong. Still that has not stopped multiple companies from pushing out new VR headsets, APIs, development kits and more. The craze has gone so far as to start effecting the way that companies are making core hardware. We already know that AMD is pushing for VR mastery with new products and by showing which existing products also have a level of VR support.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum and that is certainly true. Something will come along to fill the void if we let nature take its course. Unfortunately this law is a little mutated in the consumer electronics market and especially in the PC component world. Here is reads; the market cannot stand not having an “It” technology, so we much create one. It seems that the last few years we have been watching this happen.
AMD says it’s a VR thing now. Well ok, not really, but AMD is leveraging the increased memory bandwidth in their high-end R9 Fury cards to push both 4k and VR. They showed off the R9 Fury X dual-GPU reference design working for the first time at VRLA (Virtual Reality Los Angeles). This card will feature two 28nm Fiji GPUs plus an estimated 8GB of 2.5D HBM 1.0. The memory would be split between the two GPUs at 4GB each.
You know things are bad when you cannot afford to pay employees, but to miss payroll over the holidays seems just that much worse. However, that is what has happened to Red5 the developers behind Firefall. As is usually the case this event is not the first indication of financial troubles. In November the company laid off about 40 employees and then another 2-3 around the 23rd of December. Red6 was founded in 2005 and contained a number of Blizzard employees. Red5 was bought by a Chinese Publisher called The9 around 2010.
When Microsoft and Sony announced the move to x86-64 based gaming consoles some (pronounce that many) in the gaming community were more than a little annoyed that they would not be able to play their older games. Both companies hoped that the move would drive gaming innovation and also get people to buy new games as well as leave the option for developers to create new versions of older games with improved graphics. We saw both of these start to happen during the first few months of the Xbox One and PS4’s life. Now that things are settling down we are finally getting to a time when companies are going to circle back around to those older games.
During pre-show events at E3 Bethesda decided to release information about a few games including Dishonored 2, Fallout 4 and DOOM. All three of these games have been staples in the gaming community for a number of years and all three (if done right) can expect to continue their respective names well into the future.
Today I was asked why we do not attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). It was a valid question, but the answer is not really all that simple. If I had to be blunt I would say that we stopped covering E3 when it became one big misdirection. Over the years E3 changed from a real showcase for games and software and more of chance to show off games in a way that they will never end up for the consumer.
The idea of the “cloud” is nothing new and has, in fact, been around for a number of years in one form or another. The concept goes back to the use of small “dumb” terminals that were nothing more than display devices for com putting done in a central location. After it became possible to put more power into the systems we used the cloud faded into the back ground. With the production of mobile devices that did not typically have the same power and capacity as a desktop the cloud returned. It had a major resurgence when the smartphone and tablet leaped onto the scene and now it seems that everything is trying to become cloud based; including gaming.