The State of the PC: 2017

The personal computer evolution seems to be slowing. Apple seems to be ignoring high-end customers, 2-in-1 designs are proliferating, and the desktop PC stagnates. On the OS side, MacOS seems to be stagnating and Windows continues to be overly intrusive. What’s going to happen to the PC going forward? Eric, David, and I discuss happenings in the Mac arena, what’s going on with Windows, the slowdown in CPU progress, how displays have been evolving, and how storage has become the […]

GPU Generations Matter

Sometimes I get tired of the upgrade train and just want to get off. I find myself wondering if upgrading PC hardware really matters over time, and what do I really gain from it. Then, of course, the empirical side of my brain kicks in and shouts enthusiatically, “Let’s go get some data and find out!” I’d recently written a review of Nvidia’s new GTX 1060 for Norm Chan over at Tested. Nvidia positions the GTX 1060 as a mainstream […]

Fun With Thermal Imaging and Graphics Cards

I’ve recently been using the Seek Thermal Compact IR camera sensor to shoot photos of graphics cards under load. I received one of this nifty devices after being a beta tester, but it languished on a shelf for months. I recently dug the device out and used it to capture thermal images of graphics card under load. What follows is by no means a rigorous assessment of GPU thermal patterns, but it’s certainly interesting to take a look at what […]

How Much Video Memory?

I’ve been running a ton of benchmarks, as well as playing a lot of games while testing the new generation of GPUs. I’ve also looked at a lot of other reviews, and the general consensus seems to be that the era of 4GB being enough has come to a close. That seems a little presumptuous to me. You only have to look at the Steam Hardware Survey to realize that 4GB cards should be more than adequate for a little […]

Can the GTX 1080 Compute?

Sure it does. But how well? Out of idle curiosity, I ran a couple of OpenCL compute-oriented benchmarks on the GTX 1080 and three other GPUs. Bear in mind that this is more quick-and-dirty benchmarking, not rigorously repeated to validate results. The results, however, look interesting and the issue of compute on new GPUs bears further investigating. The Setup These tests ran on my existing production system, a Core i7-6700K with 32GB DDR4 running at the stock 2,133MHz effective. I […]

The State of the PC in 2016

Eric and I discuss in detail the desktop PC in 2016. CPUs remain mostly in a status quo, while GPUs look to substantially evolve this year. I make some general recommendations: Abandon full-size ATX motherboards, unless you really dream of triple graphics cards Forget dual-core CPUs Build small SSDs all the way Efficiency is a win GPUs rule 1080p monitors are dead Skylake / DDR4 unless you’re on a tight budget; AMD quad-core+ if you’re on a tight budget On […]

Nvidia Builds a Monster GPU for AI

Nvidia officially launched its next generation Pascal GPU, dubbed P100, at its own Graphics Tech Conference this past week. It’s definitely a monster — 15 billion transistors and 600mm2  despite being manufactured on 16nm FinFET process. I’m not going to dive into the details of the GPU, since the speeds and feeds can be found elsewhere. What’s interesting to me are the implications of Pascal on the future of graphics cards. Nvidia positions the new GPU as ideal for high […]