Previous Blogs

August 25, 2020
Pending Fall Tech Releases Bring Excitement and Hope for Normalcy

August 18, 2020
Intel Chip Advancements Show They’re Up for a Competitive Challenge

August 11, 2020
New 5G Opportunities Coming with Mid-Band Radio Frequencies

July 28, 2020
The Shifting Semiconductor Sands

July 21, 2020
Microsoft and Partners Bring More Hyperconverged Hybrid Cloud Options to Azure

July 14, 2020
New Study Highlights Pandemic-Driven Shifts in IT Priorities

July 7, 2020
Nvidia Virtual GPU Update Brings Remote Desktops, Workstations and VR to Life

June 30, 2020
Power Efficient Computing Noteworthy During Pandemic

June 23, 2020
Apple Transition Provides Huge Boost for Arm

June 16, 2020
Cisco Highlights Focus on Location as Companies Start to Reopen

June 9, 2020
WiFi 6E Opens New Possibilities for Fast Wireless Connectivity

May 26, 2020
Arm Doubles Down on AI for Mobile Devices

May 19, 2020
Microsoft Project Reunion Widens Windows 10 Opportunity to One Billion Devices

May 12, 2020
New Workplace Realities Highlight Opportunity for Cloud-Based Apps and Devices

May 5, 2020
HP’s New Chromebooks, Thin Clients and Gaming Machines Highlight PC Evolution

April 28, 2020
Google Anthos Extending Cloud Reach with Cisco, Amazon and Microsoft Connections

April 21, 2020
Remote Access Solutions Getting Extended and Expanded

April 14, 2020
Apple Google Contact Tracing Effort Raises Fascinating New Questions

April 7, 2020
Need for Multiple Video Platforms Becoming Apparent

March 31, 2020
Microsoft 365 Shift Demonstrates Evolution of Cloud-Based Services

March 24, 2020
The Time for Pragmatism in Tech is Now

March 17, 2020
The Value of Contingencies and Remote Collaboration

March 10, 2020
AMD Highlights Path to the Future

March 3, 2020
Coronavirus-Induced Pause Gives Tech Industry Opportunity to Reflect

February 25, 2020
Intel Focuses on 5G Infrastructure

February 18, 2020
Apple Coronavirus Warnings Highlight Complexities of Tech Supply Chains

February 11, 2020
Arm Brings AI and Machine Learning to IoT and the Edge

February 4, 2020
Nvidia Opens Next Chapter of Cloud Gaming

January 21, 2020
Cloud Workload Variations Highlight Diversity of Cloud Computing

January 14, 2020
New Research Shows It’s a Hybrid and Multi-Cloud World

January 7, 2020
It’s 2020 and PCs are Alive and Kicking

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

September 1, 2020
Nvidia Pushes Ray-Traced Gaming Ahead with 3000 Series GPUs

By Bob O'Donnell

In a way, this was going to be an easy one. After all, gaming of all varieties, but particularly PC-based gaming, has never been more popular. The pandemic, in general, has given people more time, more incentive, and frankly, more of a need to game than ever before. Toss in a highly reinvigorated PC market, and it would take a pretty big stumble for people not to be excited about Nvidia’s next generation GeForce line of gaming-focused GPUs.

Clearly, the company’s engineers weren’t thinking about that low bar, however, because the forthcoming GeForce RTX 3070 ($499, available in October), GeForce RTX 3080 ($699, available September 17), and the enormous GeForce RTX 3090 ($1,499, available September 24) look to be massive improvements over the RTX 2000 series products Nvidia announced around this time in 2018.

Specifically, the company is touting a performance improvement of up to 2x and a 1.9x increase in power efficiency for the chips, both due in part to the move down to an 8nm custom manufacturing process with their foundry partner Samsung. All the new GPUs are using the company’s Ampere architecture—first introduced as part of its datacenter-focused DGX A1000 server—and all offer the second iteration of its real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing technology (RTX).

A long-time dream of computer graphics enthusiasts, real-time ray tracing was introduced with great fanfare by Nvidia back in 2018 with the original RTX 2000 line. Despite the visual enhancements of the technology (it essentially calculates millions of individual rays of light bouncing off of objects to create very realistic shadows, highlights and depth), adoption in mainstream games has been relatively modest, though the company scored an important win with the release of Microsoft’s Minecraft RTX earlier this year.

At today’s launch event, however, the company really hit mainstream gamers with the news that Epic Games’ Fortnite is adding support for RTX starting with the Marvel character-themed Chapter 2, Season 4 release, which was just unveiled late last week. Ray tracing support will be across four areas, including reflections, shadows, global illumination, and ambient occlusion (where light is partially blocked by objects), all of which should create a more “realistic” Toy Story-like effect on the game’s cartoon graphics.

The news on Fortnite is interesting for other reasons as well, because Epic is also supporting several additional Nvidia technologies in its latest release, including the latest version of DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and the company’s new Nvidia Reflex technology. DLSS is an AI-powered graphics acceleration technology that leverages the Tensor Cores found on Nvidia’s latest generation GPUs and determines ways to create and render ultra high-resolution images without having to do the hard (and time consuming) work of calculating every pixel. Essentially, the technology uses a combination of lower resolution images and motion vectors, passes them through its deep-learning trained algorithms, and then automatically “fills in” the additional details, allowing high-resolution images to be generated at faster frame rates.

As with RTX, DLSS is a very cool Nvidia-created technology, but the onus of supporting it falls to game developers. Given the limited number of games that currently use it, the work to leverage the technology clearly isn’t trivial, but having support for it in Fortnite (as well as Epic’s widely used Unreal Engine game platform) is, again, a big step forward for DLSS.

Fortnite is among the first games to also support Nvidia’s Reflex, which is a new technology designed to reduce latency in games for eSports competitions. Touting as much as a 42% reduction in system latency for GPU-bound situations, Reflex optimizes the rendering pipeline across both the CPU and GPU. In conjunction with forthcoming new 360Hz G-Sync Esports displays from Acer, Alienware, Asus, and MSI due later this fall, Reflex Latency Analyzer adds the ability to measure the latency from an attached mouse and the time it takes for pixels to respond to your reactions, giving highly competitive gamers a potential edge in fast-moving games.

Finally, Nvidia unveiled two other software technologies that highlight the growing reach and impact of gaming. First, the Nvidia Broadcast app can leverage the AI processing on RTX cards to do noise reduction, virtual green screens, and autoframing (where the camera focus automatically follows you as you move around), all with standard webcams. There are obviously many other videoconferencing and streaming applications that can offer some of these capabilities, but it’s smart to see Nvidia use its own technology to create an optimized, gaming-specific app that lets gamers easily stream their content with higher-quality results.

The final tool is the company’s intriguing Omniverse Machinima, which can be used to help create original movie-style content from game assets such as environments, objects, buildings, characters and more. Building on growing interest in the machinima genre of gaming content, Nvidia’s new application will allow users to do things like use their webcams to animate the body movements and faces of characters inserted into scenes and much more. A beta version of the application is expected later this fall.

Given the tremendous interest in gaming, Nvidia’s latest generation of gaming GPUs are likely to be in high demand, and the ongoing transition to ray tracing-based games will continue moving forward. More importantly, though, it’s great to see Nvidia continue to execute on its strategy of quickly bringing its best-performing new GPU architectures from the highest-end servers down to mainstream graphics cards in a matter of months. This approach allows the company to focus the high development costs necessary to create advanced new architectures on the margin-rich server business but keep its critical consumer customers happy and eager to take advantage of new designs. It’s a smart approach that will likely serve them well for many years to come.

Here’s a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in a video-based podcast called Everything Technology.
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