After months of rumors and speculations, Nvidia has finally unveiled their new RTX 3000 graphics cards.
Not only are they more powerful than their predecessors, but they are, to quote Nvidia, ‘the biggest generational leap’ in terms of technology and performance.
Of course, this has riled up the fans even more, especially since they are priced competitively.
On the surface, you are getting an RTX 3070 for $499, an RTX 3080 for $699, and the new flagship graphics card, the RTX 3090 for $1499. These are just the Founders edition cards, so you can expect the price to be a bit more when it comes to AIB partner cards.
In this article, I will go over each of the cards and what you can expect from them.
What is Different?
As mentioned above, the RTX 3000 graphics cards have a lot of different and exciting things to watch out for.
For instance, they have the new dedicated ray tracing cores which allows you to enable the ray tracing feature in supported games with little to no performance penalty.
The dedicated cores are pretty interesting because now you can enjoy better visual fidelity and better overall lighting when you are playing your favorite PC games.
The new graphics cards also support Nvidia’s DLSS technology. Also known as Deep Learning and Super Sampling, it uses the cards’ Tensor and AI cores to not only provide better in-game frame rates but also do that in a way that improves overall graphical quality as well.
It is also worth noting that the new-generation GPUs will have a new and faster memory known as GDRR6X. They are made of Samsung’s ‘8N’ finfet architecture as opposed to TSMC’s memory modules in the RTX 2000 series.
The new memory modules are only available on the RTX 3090 and 3080 though but if you intend to get these, you will be promised unprecedented graphics memory performance that will not only translate to gaming but also in professional workloads like video rendering and encoding, etc.
Aside from improved memory, you will also have more streaming multiprocessors for higher and faster throughput and you will also have an 18-phase power delivery system, as well as better cooling solutions to tame these powerful beasts.
The RTX 3070
The new Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card is the more modest GPU in Nvidia’s product stack but despite its position, it is by no means a bad card. In fact, the company has promised that the performance of this thing is a bit better than the last generation’s high-end graphics card, the RTX 2080 Ti.
Specs-wise, you get 5,888 CUDA cores, a boost clock of 1.73GHz, and 8GB GDDR6 VRAM. Keep in mind that these are just founders edition specs, so you can expect better mileage when you buy the board partner cards.
What is interesting here is that the company has ditched all of its blower-style cooling solutions in favor of dedicated fans.
It seems that Nvidia has acknowledged that the previous design doesn’t work anymore and that is why they have opted for a more familiar cooling solution that was used by its AIB partners since it released the more power-hungry cards.
Press ‘F’ for the people that have just bought an RTX 2080Ti card because if what Nvidia is telling is true, you could get a better GPU for more than half the price of the previous-generation GPU.
The RTX 3080
This is probably what most people are going to get when the new 3000s graphics cards are released.
The RTX 3080 has 8,704 CUDA cores, a boost clock of 1.71GHz, and 10GB of the new GDDR6X memory. It has a memory interface bandwidth of 320-bit so you can expect far better performance than the previously-mentioned RTX 3070.
Anyway, Nvidia positions this card as two times faster than the previous generation RTX 2080 card. If that is the case, you can expect to engage in 4K gaming and you can expect frame rates that are above 60fps. Now you have the power to utilize the best gaming monitors on the market!
While the new Samsung memory modules are interesting, what piqued my interest was the fact that the cooling solution is somewhat new.
You see, instead of the card spewing hot air off of the board, it actually employs two fans at different orientations- one is sucking air from the PC case and one is releasing hot air out.
In theory, this should provide better cooling because of the way the fans are orientated, but it remains to be seen if this makes any noticeable improvement.
It is also worth mentioning that this style of cooling might not be the best if you have a pretty cramped case. You would need to invest in a good mid-tower of even a full-tower chassis if you want this thing to work optimally.
The RTX 3090
This is the first time that Nvidia released a 90-series graphics card. The RTX 3090 provides TITAN-class performance and a bit more thanks to its new supported technologies.
There are so many interesting things to talk about when it comes to the company’s new flagship GPU.
First, the RTX 3090, at least the Founders edition card, requires a new 12-pin power connector instead of the usual 2x 8-pin connectors. The new connector can (theoretically) provide up to 600 watts of power, but you will not need that much to operate this thing (although Nvidia mentioned that a 750-watt power supply should be acquired as a ‘bare minimum’).
Do not worry because if you do intend to buy this card, you will be given an adapter in the box so you can still use your existing power supply unit.
Second, its specs are truly what makes this thing a flagship product. You get a whopping 10,496 CUDA cores, a boost clock of 1.70GHz, and a whopping 24GB of GDDR6X memory.
When it comes to gaming performance, you can comfortably play 4K games at more than 120fps for sure! Of course, this card is positioned to not only be limited to gaming but also in more professional and creative workloads as well, hence the 24GB of VRAM.
The RTX 3090 also employs the same cooling solution to that of the RTX 3080, but because this requires more power to operate, not to mention the specs that are on this thing, it would be interesting to see how this card fares thermally (or if it ever reaches its thermal limits, thus severely limiting the card’s potential).
Among all of Nvidia’s next-gen graphics cards, only the RTX 3090 has an NVLink connector. You will need to buy an NVLink bridge (which is sold separately) if you intend to use it (and of course, lots of money to buy two of these behemoths).
It should also go without saying that the RTX 3090 is really big. When put side-by-side with the RTX 2080 Ti, the RTX 3090 is bigger and chunkier, so you will definitely need a big PC case for this to fit in.
With the coming of the 3000 series graphics cards, you can also expect a slew of different features as well. Here are just some of the best ones:
If you are playing highly competitive games, input lag should be as low as possible. Also known as system latency, input lag is a measure between the response of your inputs (mouse clicks or keypresses) to how fast it is displayed on the screen. The lower the input lag, the better the performance.
The new Nvidia Reflex technology employs a series of GPU, GSync, and software technologies that aim to minimize input lag as much as possible. This means that system latency will be significantly reduced for faster and smoother gameplay.
The new technology will be supported by competitive titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Fortnite, Valorant, and Call of Duty: Warzone. They will be available as soon as these games release new patches to support the new feature.
2.AV1 Decode Support
The new Nvidia 3000 graphics cards will also support a new codec known as the AV1. This is a royalty-free codec that is more efficient than the current H.264 standard and this new technology allows you to stream at 4K or 8K without requiring really fast internet connections.
That is possible thanks to the codec’s ability to reduce the bandwidth requirements of your streams by as much as 50% compared to H.264. Of course, this remains to be seen but it is really something to look forward to, especially if you are a streamer.
3.HDMI 2.1 Support
When looking at the connectors of the new GPUs, I find that they only have DisplayPort 1.4 ports at the back. But, what fascinates me is that the new cards actually support the new HDMI 2.1 standard.
With the new connector, you can pretty much play in 8K resolution at 60 fps. This is also the port that you should use if you intend to use a high-end 4K monitor that is capable of supporting more than 144 frames per second.
With the advent of next-generation game consoles, this is truly something that is welcome in this day and age.
With the advent of faster PC storage solutions, the new Nvidia graphics cards can be utilized to improve game loading speeds even more.
The new technology is called as Nvidia RTX IO. This is basically a new feature that allows lossless decompression on the GPU level that is only enabled when you are playing games.
What does this mean? Well, instead of relying on your CPU for in-game environments to fully load, the GPU, as well as your storage solution, will accelerate loading speeds together, thus providing your CPU more time to breathe (because the load will be lessened on the CPU side of things).
For more information about this new feature, you can read about it here.
5.Nvidia Broadcast App
While not exclusively available to the RTX 3000 series graphics cards, and RTX GPU from Nvidia will support this next feature.
The Nvidia Broadcast app can be enabled in the GeForce experience program and what it does is it uses the GPU’s AI and Tensor cores to provide better overall performance when you are streaming, video conferencing, or chatting with your friends at the other end of the line.
This new technology aims to provide a virtual background, better noise removal, and auto frame mechanics to make things more seamless and interesting.
When you pre-order or buy the cards at launch, you can expect to receive a game from any partnered companies. For instance, if you buy an RTX 3070 now, you can get a free copy of Watch Dogs: Legion plus a free 1-year subscription to Geforce NOW.
Nvidia has really given something that gamers and content creators are going to be excited about. The new RTX 3000 graphics cards provide more performance and efficiency than ever before and I am happy that they are priced just right so that the mass market can afford them without any problems.
Of course, we will test these cards to find out if the company’s claims are indeed true, especially when it comes to raw gaming performance. But, I am already hyped up thanks to the new technologies that go along with the GPUs as well.
It would be interesting to see how AMD will respond to this. Are they going to yield or do they have some tricks up its sleeves?
The new Nvidia RTX 3000 series graphics cards will be available on September 17 for the RTX 3090 and 3080, while the RTX 3070 will be released sometime in October.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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