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Jon Sutton
on 27 May 2017 at 12:00

When AMD brought Ryzen and the AM4 platform to market, it would be fair to say it felt a little bit hurried. Some basic motherboard functionality was overlooked, an aspect which AMD has been hastily fixing with a series of updates. Limiting DDR4 memory support to 3200MHz was perhaps the most curious of these omissions, but as of the Ryzen AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated System Architecture) 1.0.0.6 update, AM4 motherboards can now support memory clocks up to and including DDR4-4000. 

AGESA is the utility responsible for initializing AMD processors during the boot and forms the basis for building the BIOS files. In total, AMD has added 26 new memory-related parameters with the latest version of AGESA, providing motherboard manufacturers with a little more to work with when trying to deliver comprehensive BIOS support and features. This particular update allows memory on AM4 chipsets to exceed the 2667MHz cap on JEDEC specifications, allow for manual overclocking and improves compatibility. 

Jon Sutton
on 26 May 2017 at 15:30

Zotac has managed to make a big of a name for itself in the small form factor PC market, but it's really gone above and beyond with its latest GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. The first of these, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm, is an 8.3” (211mm) version of Nvidia’s most powerful gaming graphics card, a full 4.5” (114mm) shorter than Zotac’s own full-sized model. That’s just 64% of the size, and Zotac has also managed to cram water-cooling onto its diminutive beast.

The Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm features SPECTRA lighting, is extremely light, and thanks to liquid cooling should also be a fantastic overclocker considering its tiny size. Zotac hasn’t released the specs for the ArcticStorm, however, being based on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, it’s almost assuredly got the full complement of 3584 CUDA Cores, 11GB GDDR5X memory on a 352-bit memory bus, and will require two times 8-pin power connectors. 

Neil Soutter
on 25 May 2017 at 15:13

Intel’s much rumoured Core i9-7900X Skylake X processor has just popped up in the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking utility’s online database. The new enthusiast tier CPU will be part of Intel’s first ever family of Core i9 processors, offering unprecedented performance with a price tag to match. The Intel Core i9-7900X is an absolute monster on paper, packing 10 cores and 20 threads thanks to MultiThreading support. 

The SiSoft Sandra database actually lists the Core i9-7900X as an i7-7900X. Either Intel isn’t actually going with the i9 nomenclature, or the ID references need to be updated in SiSoft’s database.

Jon Sutton
on 25 May 2017 at 14:00

Afternoon schlocky horror fans. Friday the 13th: The Game is out tomorrow on Steam, and handily developer Illfonic has compiled together a list of benchmark results so you can work your expected performance. Quite a variety of different specs and settings have been benchmarked in Friday the 13th, ranking from a humble Radeon HD 6850 + Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 combo all the way up to SLI GeForce GTX 970’s plus an Intel Core i7-6700.

Friday the 13th is, sadly, not out on Friday the 13th, but Friday the 26th. They've missed a trick there. Nevertheless, it's an asymmetric horror game in which seven players must attempt to survive against the wrath of Jason Voorhees. Jason is a legendary killer with an array of tracking skills and some absolutely brutal takedowns. All everyone else needs to do is survive the night in any way possible. Whilst you're getting your head slammed in a door, or being gutted in the log cabin, the last thing you're going to want to contend with is a dodgy frame rate. Here's a full range of benchmarks so you can hopefully pinpoint your expected performance in Friday the 13th.

Jon Sutton
on 23 May 2017 at 16:54

AMD will be taping out its 7nm Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU products later this year, CEO Dr Lisa Su has confirmed. Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology Conference yesterday evening, Su highlighted AMD’s long term roadmap and its plans for what comes after its Ryzen processors and Radeon RX Vega graphics cards.

All the work AMD has done on the first generation Ryzen CPUs will form the basis on Zen 2; a die shrink allowing for a potentially dramatic performance increase and greater efficiency. Zen 2 will be followed, appropriately enough, by Zen 3, a further 7nm refinement of the Zen microarchitecture.

Stuart Thomas
on 22 May 2017 at 12:46

Waiting patiently for the latest and greatest gaming hardware can be a tough ask. When AMD announced the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition last week, an extremely high-end workstation graphics card, AMD’s own advice for gaming fans was to hold fire - gaming-focused Radeon RX Vega GPUs would be along shortly. If you needed any more convincing though, Radeon Technologies Group senior VP and chief architect, Raja Koduri, has confirmed the gaming Radeon RX Vega GPUs will in fact be faster than the Radeon Frontier Edition.

Replying to fans on Reddit, Koduri said “RX will be fully optimised gaming drivers, as well as a few other goodies that I can't tell you about just yet....But you will like Frontier Edition too, if you can't wait :)” He also said, “Consumer RX will be much better optimised for all the top gaming titles and flavours of RX Vega will actually be faster than Frontier version!”

Jon Sutton
on 22 May 2017 at 11:12

As ideas go, dropping the well worn Saints Row name and just embracing the superhero craziness for Agents of Mayhem may have been a good one for Volition. Set in loosely the same universe as Saints Row, Agents of Mayhem has the player leading a band of super agents against a villainous organisation known a Legion. Agents of Mayhem features a huge open-world rendition of Seoul to explore, taking down Legion by any means possible. Before you suit up and leave the Batcave though, here are the official Agents of Mayhem PC system requirements.

As often happens, these system requirements are labelled as provisional, so are subject to change between now and Agents of Mayhem's launch on August 15th. However, they do give us a pretty decent idea of where Volition is headed with Agents of Mayhem. The biggest takeaway is that these PC system requirements for Agents of Mayhem are multitudes higher than for Volition's last rodeo, Saints Row IV. Visually Agents of Mayhem doesn't look all that special, sporting a cartoonish look which you'd expect to be undemanding. Quite why the system requirements are so much higher isn't clear, but Agents of Mayhem is at least the first title with which Volition has been able to leave the previous generation behind. I suspect with its action focus and multiple playable characters, there could be a lot more going on in Agents of Mayhem at any one time than in Saints Row IV.

Jon Sutton
on 20 May 2017 at 16:00

When the current crop of consoles came out we witnessed what was probably the largest single leap in average system requirements of all time. Within a matter of months, the trusty GTX 8800 was obsolete and the reliable GeForce GTX 660 slid into the pile marked ‘crap’. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not consoles that hold PC games back, it’s the pure economic cost of advancing technologies. What a console generation does serve to do, however, is accelerate the bottom end upwards in one fell swoop. Where once we were comfortably playing games, now we were dropping settings like crazy in order to achieve a decent frame rate.

Now we stand on the cusp of a new generation, or at least what Microsoft would have us believe is a new generation. Project Scorpio is touted as a generational leap, rather than the mere stop-gap that was Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro. Packing 6 teraflops of compute performance, 12GB GDDR5 memory and capable of native 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, Project Scorpio will comfortably be the most powerful console on Earth when it launches later in 2017. Its GPU alone is 4.6 times more powerful than the Xbox One.

Jon Sutton
on 19 May 2017 at 16:49

AMD Radeon CEO Raja Koduri has confirmed the live Computex Radeon RX Vega event will be a soft launch only for its next enthusiast tier graphics cards. Earlier this week we saw the unveiling of the Radeon Vega Frontier Editions, the first such Radeon Vega graphics cards. These particular chips are aimed at the professional market rather than for gaming, and as such are going to be attached to a sky-high price tag.

Gamers are going to have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the gaming Vega RX GPUs, with Koduri yesterday urging patience for waiting fans.

Jon Sutton
on 18 May 2017 at 15:22

When AMD revealed the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition earlier this week there was a palpable sense of disappointment. This wasn’t the gaming monster we’d been waiting well over a year for. This was a card designed to crunch numbers, drive cars and discover cures, but it wasn’t the graphics card we were hoping could tear apart Destiny 2 at 4K. Now though, AMD Radeon CEO Raja Koduri has urged patience, promising gaming optimized Radeon RX Vega are just around the corner and “you’ll be glad you [waited]”.

Writing in a Vega Frontier Edition blog after the event on Tuesday night, Koduri said “The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics card is going to empower the pioneers creating the next generation of gaming experiences, but it does beg one question: Can you game on a Radeon Vega Frontier Edition?  The answer is yes, absolutely.  But because this graphics card is optimized for professional use cases (and priced accordingly), if gaming is your primary reason for buying a GPU, I’d suggest waiting just a little while longer for the lower-priced, gaming-optimized Radeon RX Vega graphics card. You’ll be glad you did.”