• Computer Hardware Industries Desperately Behind the Times


    No, we're not AMD fanboys, but NVIDIA needs to get with the times as their Vulkan and DX12 performance shows. To put it simply, Vulkan and DX12 are designed around parallel processing, which is far more efficient. AMD's GCN architecture is designed this way. NVIDIA's architecture is not, it is sequential and linear thus limiting for games. Vulkan and DX12 can have some stupidly good performance and/or gameplay improvements, but for that we need parallel GPU architecture to be the standard. Someone wake NVIDIA up.

    NVIDIA is no stranger to parallel computing and compute performance. See their Quadro cards or even past GeForce like Fermi. Volta should be what we need, but NVIDIA is clearly waiting until the last minute, encouraging the use of primitive and very limiting graphics APIs until then, and slowing down engine development (e.g., Epic Games is too scared to take the next step in Vulkan and DX12 implementation with Unreal Engine 4 since they don't want to leave NVIDIA behind).


    Vulkan/DX12 can lower CPU bottlenecks, driver overhead, have epic multi-GPU scaling (including using both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs together), and of course the draw call potential can lead to epic gameplay improvements. In a few years, when Vulkan and DX12 take over as primary graphics API, we will see some very nice improvements in games. It's a shame it can't happen now on a large scale.

    This brings up another aspect, and something not as specific to NVIDIA: Multi-GPU technologies, like SLI and CrossFire. These technologies have advanced poorly and NVIDIA is actually regressing and limiting their cards to 2-way SLI only. With the potential Vulkan and DX12 have for multi-GPU improvements, everyone including both NVIDIA and AMD and also game studios should be supporting it.

    On a side note, NVIDIA's continued push for exclusivity and proprietary technologies is only limiting themselves and damaging the gaming industry. Volta and future NVIDIA GPUs will be more capable in OpenCL. By that time, NVIDIA PhysX should be ported to OpenCL and not be limited to NVIDIA GPUs. Physics are still in the stone age, with 2004's Half-Life 2 having more realistic and simply more physics than most modern games. PhysX is incredibly realistic in all areas, and can bring massive performance and gameplay improvements if it wasn't limited to CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs.


    As a side note, it would be nice if high quality shrouds using neutral colors and RGB LEDs, such as this EVGA GTX 1080 FTW, would become a standard design for high end GPUs so that they can match with any PC.

    But NVIDIA's exclusivity won't change any time soon. At least their GPU architecture will presumably cease being so terribly outdated and limiting in 2018 with the release of Volta. Of all the hardware industries we have talked about in this article, this one has the most promise of catching up.


    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Enad's Avatar
      Enad -
      sux m8.

      I can concur on the monitor front, my VA Samsung TV looks far superior to my BenQ BL3200 VA Monitor.
    1. Jester's Avatar
      Jester -
      Quote Originally Posted by Enad View Post
      sux m8.

      I can concur on the monitor front, my VA Samsung TV looks far superior to my BenQ BL3200 VA Monitor.
      For what it's worth, that gap would be bridged quite a bit if you removed the AG coating on the BL3200PT (not that I recommend attempting this until you no longer need the monitor). Honestly AG coatings are probably what annoy me the most about monitors. Unless OLED takes over, we're going to be stuck with AG coatings if we also want high refresh rate and reasonable size (under 40").

      Seriously, I'd shut up if we had some kind of masterclass LCD monitor. 27-32" 3840 x 2160 120 Hz SPVA quantum dot monitor (DisplayPort 1.4) with full array WLED backlighting, at least 384 local dimming zones (areas around the screen where backlight is controlled dynamically based on content, leading to at least 25,000:1 zone contrast ratio), 5,000:1 - 7,000:1 static contrast, AR treated glass coating, HDR-10, 10-bit color with both >= 100% sRGB and DCI-P3 modes, good out of the box setup, fast response time, excellent strobing method with good lower refresh rate support (e.g. Eizo Turbo240 + the zone/scanning method seen on the Samsung CFG70), G-SYNC and/or FreeSync. It's not OLED, but it'd be good enough... almost.
    1. Grompz's Avatar
      Grompz -
      Since you have mentioned keyboards, I think gaming mouses also deserve a mention. Most of self-proclaimed gaming mouses have inaccurate sensors and cheap plastic build, they are also designed for ambidextrous persons, even some of the most expensives ones, which, in my opinion, is not as comfortable as a mouse fully designed for right-handed or left-handed user.
    1. Jester's Avatar
      Jester -
      I find high end optical sensors quite good, especially 3366. After trying 3366 I can't go back to anything else. But I don't know a whole lot about mouse sensors.

      There are two other things I'm considering adding to this article:

      • Processors/RAM - PS4 uses shared GDDR5, graphics memory is already beyond GDDR5, why are CPUs/RAM still only on DDR4?
      • AIO Water Coolers - I'm cutting them some slack since this market is actually growing quite rapidly, replacing high end air coolers. We finally have good quality ones from Swiftech, EK, and Alphacool, but all are only using DDC pumps. Time for some higher end models using D5 pumps? Quick disconnects need to be a standard for them too, at least for 240mm and above.
    1. Charcharo's Avatar
      Charcharo -
      At least there is light at the end of the tunnel for monitors. Sound? Not so.
    1. Jester's Avatar
      Jester -
      Quote Originally Posted by Charcharo View Post
      At least there is light at the end of the tunnel for monitors. Sound? Not so.
      There's still a chance that OLED never takes over. But at least we'd get some really good LCDs, and by 2018 most likely.
    1. strudinox's Avatar
      strudinox -
      Good read, especially the part about sound cards. They're pretty exclusive now days and they're used by pretty much nobody. I wonder though if the lack of diversity and competition is fueled by these large corporations hoarding patents making it almost impossible for start ups to gain any traction?
    1. Jester's Avatar
      Jester -
      Quote Originally Posted by strudinox View Post
      Good read, especially the part about sound cards. They're pretty exclusive now days and they're used by pretty much nobody. I wonder though if the lack of diversity and competition is fueled by these large corporations hoarding patents making it almost impossible for start ups to gain any traction?
      That is 100% the case with sound cards. OpenAL used to be open source, then Creative bought it and patented it down. Although there is still an open source implementation of it called OpenAL Soft that is still way better than everything else out there.

      The ability to process OpenAL instructions via hardware is patented by Creative too, of course, and only their X-Fi processors (no longer used in today's sound cards) can do it.

      Patents = death
      Open source = life