GTX 10 Series and soon AMD Polaris
In computing circles claiming that VR is here is a cliché, but this year it seems that all the important aspects have finally come together. Why do I claim this? Well, on the 6th May at a special event in Austin Texas, yet another step forward in home computing was revealed. NVIDIA presented their new Pascal video cards. The GTX 1080 will be released on May 27th, and the GTX 1070 on June 10th.
With so many computer developments regularly happening, it would be understandable to dismiss this as nothing more than another tiny improvement, but this is a big leap. Here is why I am so excited:
- In addition to a list of incredible new feature, the GTX 1080 is twice the performance and three times the efficiency of the current top end video card TITAN X!
- Crucially the GTX 1080 is much cheaper than a TITAN X! The 1080 Founders Edition $699, 1070 Founders Edition costing $449.
We live in a wonderful age, yes improvements happen quite regularly, but to have a card providing such dramatic improvements, whilst also being cheaper than the previous top card is extra special. Some people are even discussing buying 2 GTX 1070 cards for a better performance than a single GTX 1080 without it costing much more. In the interest of clarification, and typical PC complexity, the TITAN X will perform some functions better.
With NVIDIA’s incredible announcement, the bar has been set high for AMD. They are likely making an announcement about their Polaris cards in a few months.
The following is an overview of the enhanced features of the GTX 10 series:
- Ansel system will provide a brilliant development for game photography. This will include an in-game free-camera movement mode, including rotating, 360-degree screenshots, incredibly high pixel count, cropping, and filters.
- Simultaneous Multi-Projection, a single card will be able to three different viewpoints, instead of needing two cards. Also the odd warping of multi-view on previous images has been fixed.
- Incredibly cool running temperatures whilst running at silly speeds. There are no numbers about what overclocking be achieved with the cards, but considering how cool they run, the potential is likely impressive.
- Improvements to how VR images are handled, as well as running at over 90 FPS! With VR, having high and consistent FPS is even more important to help maintain immersion. This is because our brains are so good are detecting anomalies, and having images so close to your eyes makes the experience quite different to watching on a screen.
- NVIDIA VR Works Audio, aimed at giving sound effects the ability to bounce off surfaces and form a complex web of sound.
The previous two points about VR image and audio improvements provide a great combination to make VR immersive. I am curious how binaural will figure in to this, to further make VR immersion as close to perfect as possible.
When I ran a computer shop in 1995 Doom was a major reason why so many people were upgrading or buying a new PC. I am amused to see that the Doom franchise is being used once again to promote new hardware; it certainly makes me want to upgrade.
During the NVIDIA event, there was a presentation showing Doom were they turned frame-rate cap off. The game was running at Full HD resolution (1920×1080) with Ultra settings, and yet was averaging over 130FPS!
As architecture across systems has become more standardised, this year of great graphic card development has interesting implications for consoles. The PlayStation 4K will be at least a bit more powerful than current console, but there are some speculating it could be more than a bit, although I doubt this. It does make me ponder whether this console generation lifespan might be brief.
I am still working out what I want to do, I am likely going to get a 1080, but I am very curious as to what AMD’s Polaris will be. Of course I will not keep leaving it, since after AMD then there will then be NVIDIA’s response to AMD. Then there is the consideration of whether to wait till the end of 2016, or 2017 for High Bandwidth Memory. A summary video is available:
What do you think of this leap and potential? Are you going to get a new card or wait?