I won't write any lenghty tomes about my most recent gaming adventures. What I will do is tell you that I've gone back to an old friend in Portal 2 Co-op and rediscovered Battlefield 4 but only after the latest DLC freebie. So enough typing, start watching! ...and remember, if you like the videos, subscribe to the channel!
So the big secret is out. Nvidia has once again broken through the 3 digit naming convention for it's video cards and announced the GTX 1080 and 1070.
Nvidia is claiming leaps and bounds of the new Pascal based GPU over the previous Maxwell generation of cards. That may be true in a limited context but the specs may be telling a different story. Speaking of specs, take a look at the GTX 1080 compared to a GTX 980
What I'm seeing here isn't that earth shaking if you've purchased an Nvidia card in the past 3 years. While the clock speeds, memory fill rates and power efficiency are marginally better the lack of HBM2 memory is probably the most glaring omission from Pascal's wish list.
Nvidia opted for GDDR5x memory which reportedly can "double" the bandwidth of GDDR5 by utilizing a 64 bit wide memory bus. Other than that, however, There's not much more to say.
Consider GDDR5x to be a Hot Rod version of GDDR5 that is pin compatible with the previous generation. Sadly, that leaves out the even higher bandwidth and power savings potential offered by HBM2 which would explain the only moderate power efficiency gains of the 1080 vs the 980.
The bottom line is this. The GTX 1080 is currently a flagship card destined for the mid-range. It's a stopgap that implements a new GPU until Nvidia can get a real flagship card online. If you look at Nvidia's performance charts you'll see marginal improvements between the two cards with the only major difference being the handling of VR applications.
This is more of a VR card than anything else. As such it will likely replace the GTX 970 as the entry level Nvidia Graphics platform for VR applications.
Of course the Hype machine is running full bore hoping to relieve you of $600 to $700 (reference card) to be in on the latest and greatest. The price point tells you this is a high-mid-range card with the next step down the GTX 1070 coming in at roughly half that price.
With all that I find myself dubious at Nvidia's performance claims mostly because of the fuzzy math
Such as the claim that the card is "75% faster"
75% faster doing what? Just clocks? Great, but that's like saying that running your case fan at 4000 RPM is faster than running it at 2000 RPM. That's great but if you're not getting any more airflow it's a meaningless number.
Keep in mind that Graphics performance isn't solely determined by the hardware. Drivers, game coding, testing setup and even room temperature can make conclusions subjective at best. Take it all with a grain of salt.
Then there's the claim that 1 GTX 1080 is faster than 2 980's in SLI.
Again, meaningless without context. What were they doing? That kind of claim is pretty much meaningless these days since most recent benchmarks haven't shown a great performance improvement (which I classify as 40% or more) over a single card.
My rule is that for every extra card I run should see a performance improvement of at least 50% in graphically intensive operations that should benefit from better graphics hardware.
Most of the industry pundits would say that's an unrealistic expectation and they would be right. In fact adding anything more than 1 card in SLI automatically engages the law of diminishing returns exponentially.
Regardless, the industry is moving away from Multi GPU's anyway so this is kind of a weak metric for Nvidia to tout.
Multi-card setups only came about as a crutch for comparatively mediocre GPU's to keep up with more demanding games and 3D applications. It was sold as performance but it was really just a stopgap till the technology could catch up.
If you can accept Nvidia's claim at beating 2 980's in SLI with the GTX 1080 then you also have to accept that the average SLI setup nets maybe a 20% improvement at higher resolutions with a modern GPU.
In fact the only real reason to invest in SLI these days is running games with extreme graphics settings at extremely high resolutions ( like 4K or more. )
Meaning 90% of the time besting SLI numbers is no big deal with a new generation of graphics processor regardless of the vendor.
Conclusion: This claim is bullshit...
So what do I think?
Simple. If you've bought into anything above a GTX 960 I'd wait for the next refresh of Pascal before upgrading. Perhaps by then they'll have HBM2 with its higher bandwidth potential and power savings. The first crop of Pascal gaming cards looks more like an interim refresh than a sea change over Maxwell from a performance standpoint.
If, however, you're running a Pre-Maxwell vintage card this may be an ideal time to upgrade. The marked improvements in memory performance and power efficiency alone are worth the upgrade especially if you expect to be doing ANYTHING in 4K. Besides, it's been about 3 years which is just about right for an upgrade.
So what have we learned?
Nvidia is full of bullshit. So is AMD.
It's perfectly OK to skip an entire generation of video cards.
The GTX 1080 will be a flagship card for about 6 months before it gets relegated to the mid-range.
So if you're still rocking a pair of GTX 670's in SLI it may be time to check out the new GTX 1080.
The video below from the Hardware Canucks gives a decent overview of the new GTX 1080 although they do tend to buy into the hype machine.
Have you seen the trailer yet? What trailer? Why the exciting new trailer for Battlefield 1. Yes, I said, Battlefield...1 This one right here...
Ok, Now you've seen the Hype, here's the hammer... Check it out if you don't have time to read the full article OR do both!
There were rumors of a World War 1 theme for the next Battlefield game I just kind of hoped Dice wouldn't have gone there.
Of course EA is excited "One of the things that makes World War I such an amazing era is just how advanced it really was."
I don't know about you but to me that sounds more like an admission of a weak premise than a virtue.
"a lot of the tech you've used in other Battlefield games was perfected
during this era, letting the classic Battlefield DNA shine through."
...and that sounds like an excuse.
It's also interesting to note that this is the first Battlefield game since Battlefield Vietnam to be based on an actual conflict. Which means the game is drifting into Call of Duty territory.
In other words Dice has run out of new ideas for the franchise.
This is literally plan B. Let's get real here folks, Battlefield 4 may have been prettier than Battlefield 3 but it was pretty much the same game with worse netcode. The only place Dice could go was either far into the future or Plan B.
World War 1...
True, there's never been a Battlefield game that dealt with this era of history., In fact aside from a fewindependent studios and games that didn't go much beyond air battles with the Red Baron it's been largely ignored.
There's a reason. You're talking about a war that was fought with sabers, horses and in many cases bare hands. Yeah there were tanks if you could call them that and airplanes made out of sticks and linen.
You can still see planes like that today, they're called crop dusters...Woo! exciting....
Probably not for a Battlefield fan base weened on Abrams Tanks, infrared targeting and Heat seeking missiles.
Let's not forget the exciting new dynamic of actually riding a horse while hacking and slashing your way through your enemies with your trusty Scimitar.
I guess Dice is looking to give Witcher and Assassin's Creed fans something to do.
But enough about the flawed premise of the game. What the trailer showed me was far more revealing than just the announcement of a new Battlefield game.
It showed me that all that time spent on Battlefront wasn't wasted. I defy anyone to watch that trailer and not see the desert wastes of Jakku or the Forest moon of Endor in the background.
It's still too expensive as well.
Pre orders start around $80 going all the way up to $220 for a "collector's edition."
The base game is still around $60 ( still too much) with the Pre-order giving you extra goodies like...
Messenger pigeon tube with exclusive** DLC content
OMG! A statue and Premium Packaging! Oh lord screw the car payment I need to buy this!
$220? For That? Really?
If you pay that you're either abusing daddy's Visa or you're a trust fund baby.
Oh, and did you notice that the big "bonus" was centered around DLC. Yep, this game will suffer DLC disease just like every Battlefield title for the past 5 years meaning even those foolish enough to pay 2 C notes for the privilege of being stupid with their money will still not have all of the game content. Notice it says nothing about getting the "Premium" subscription just "Premium" packaging.
What irritates the hell out of me is that EA still thinks this is a viable business model. Yeah people buy their games but not in the numbers they once did.
If Battlefield 3 could be considered ground breaking, what came after was just prettied up imitations to milk a franchise.
I don't see anything different with Battlefield 1.
Some may say, "Hey, how do you get all that from just a trailer." To which I say, you haven't been paying attention. This is the same formula EA used with BF3, BF4, Hardline, Battlefront and even Warfighter. Now they're doing the same with BF1. In other words, lots of hype that comes up short on delivery.
Verdict: DON'T BUY Especially when there's a $220 option. That's just blatant greed.