​AMD Launches The New Radeon Pro Duo At $999

AMD announced the Radeon Pro Duo graphics card targeting the professional consumer market. This new GPU is based on the fourth-generation Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and can perform graphic and arithmetic instructions in parallel.

The benefit of the dual GPU Radeon Pro Duo graphics card is that designers can now use two software packages simultaneously. Professionals can take advantage of the parallel computing power of the Radeon Pro Duo graphics card to accelerate compute-intensive tasks in computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, and other applications that support OpenCL.

Even if your application doesn’t support multi-GPU acceleration, this professional graphics card makes it possible to dedicate one GPU to the functions of separate applications concurrently, or to work with multiple 4K video streams in real-time. According to AMD, live content creation using the first GPU, with real-time rendering and/or ray tracing on the second GPU, is now possible.

Ogi Brkic, general manager, professional graphics, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD, said:

Today’s professional workflows continue to increase in complexity, often demanding that creators switch between a wide variety of applications to progress their work, pausing efforts in one application while computing resources are focused on another. We designed the Radeon Pro Duo to eliminate those constraints, empowering professionals to multi-task without compromise, dedicating GPU resources where and how they need them. It’s a continuation of our promise for Radeon Pro: to provide greater choice in how professionals practice their craft, enabling superior multi-tasking, accelerated applications, and powerful solutions for advanced workloads like VR. 

The full-height single-slot Radeon Pro Duo features two Polaris 10 cores both operating at 1,243MHz with 2,304 stream processors each. Total compute power is listed at 11.45 TFLOPs. The 32GB of GDDR5 (16GB per core) operates at 7GHz for a total of 448GBps bandwidth. The Radeon Pro Duo graphics card can drive up to four 4K displays at 60Hz or one 5K or 8K display at 60Hz via the three DisplayPort 1.4 HBR3/HDR Ready outputs and one HDMI 2.0 output. Power is supplied via an 8+6-pin power connector.

Planned availability is the end of May at an expected $999 with a 2-year limited warranty and 24/7 technical support.

AMD Radeon Pro Duo
​GPU ARCHITECTURE ​GCN 4th Generation
​STREAM PROCESSORS ​2,304 x2
​PEAK PERFORMANCE ​11.45 TFLOPS
​PEAK TRIANGLES ​9.94BTps
​PEAK ENGINE CLOCK ​1,243MHz
​MEMORY TYPE ​32GB GDDR5 (16GB per GPU)
​MEMORY INTERFACE ​256 bit x2
​MEMORY DATA RATE/ BANDWIDTH ​7Gbps / 448GBps
​TYPICAL BOARD POWER ​​<250 W
​AMD FREESYNC™ TECHNOLOGY ​Yes
​AMD CROSSFIRE™ PRO TECHNOLOGY ​Yes
​DISPLAY OUTPUT CONNECTORS ​3x DP, 1x HDMI
​DISPLAYPORT VERSION ​1.4 – HBR3/HDR Ready6
​5K SUPPORT @ 60 HZ ​1x single-cable 5K monitor, or 2x dual-cable 5K monitors
​8K SUPPORT @ 30 HZ ​1x single-cable 8K monitor
​8K SUPPORT @ 60 HZ ​1x dual-cable 8K monitor
​DISPLAY COLOR DEPTH ​10-bit Support
​STEREO 3D OUTPUT (3-PIN DIN) ​No
​FRAMELOCK/GENLOCK SUPPORT ​No
​API SUPPORT ​DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
OpenCL 2.0
Vulkan 1.0
​OPERATING SYSTEM SUPPORT ​Windows 7 64-bit
Windows 10 64-bit
Linux 64-bit
​FORM FACTOR ​Full-Height Single Slot
12” Length

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'Infinite Minigolf' Heads To PSVR, HTC Vive This Spring

Zen Studios announced that Infinite Minigolf, which is currently available via Steam Early Access, will debut on PlayStation VR and HTC Vive this Spring. The game will also be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC if you aren’t interested in playing mini-golf in VR.

Infinite Minigolf is a followup to the PS3-exclusive Planet Minigolf with an even greater emphasis on building your own courses and playing those made by others. Zen Studios said in a blog post that Planet Minigolf had a course library containing more than 80,000 holes of mini-golf; a more robust course editor and course discovery tool could make Infinite Minigolf‘s library even larger (though still probably not-quite-infinite, we’d guess.)

Early Access players appear to have been pivotal to Infinite Minigolf’s development. Zen Studios said in its blog post that it “heard your feedback regarding the original course editor” and “made significant upgrades” in response. The new toolset is supposed to be “easier to use, intuitive,” and provide many options, such as “stylized tiles” and “beautifully crafted objects that affect gameplay and allow you to play tricks on players.”

Infinite Minigolf – Console Announcement Trailer

The studio also said that Infinite Minigolf will feature eight-player matches (just in case you want most of the frustration of playing mini-golf with other people without having to leave your house) and support for tournaments. Other details, such as how much the game will cost when it debuts, weren’t provided. You can get a sneak peek at the game via Steam Early Access, where Infinite Minigolf currently costs $15, albeit without Vive support.

Title Infinite Minigolf
Type Sport
Developer Zen Studios
Publisher Zen Studios
Platforms
  • PC
  • PS4
  • PSVR
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
Where To Buy Steam Early Access
Release Date Spring 2017

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Origin NS-17

We recently reviewed the Origin EON17-X, and this is another spin on the laptop which turns it into a Windows 10 Pro-toting workstation.

That underlines one fundamental shift currently happening in the world of high-end computing. The growing popularity of portable gaming rigs has been beneficial to the mobile workstation market as a number of niche vendors have embraced a new potential audience by exploiting economies of scale.

Put simply, a powerful gaming computer can also be – with a few tweaks – transformed into a capable mobile workstation, although you shouldn’t expect advanced functionality like support for Intel Xeon CPUs, professional graphics cards (Quadro or Fire Pro) or ECC RAM.

And to make things even simpler, most of the non-branded laptops on the market are manufactured by a couple of vendors (Clevo and Compal). This helps keep prices down, but the downside is that models are very similar and there’s little opportunity for vendors to set themselves apart.

The Origin NS-17 perfectly illustrates these two points. At its core, it is a gaming laptop (the EON17-X) with Windows 10 Pro (rather than Home) which explains why both versions of the notebook cost almost the same.

Then there’s the fact that the Origin NS-17 looks pretty similar to the PC Specialist Octane II Pro, the Schenker XMG P506, the Eurocom Sky X4E2 or the Workstation Specialists WS-M151.

Having a common chassis also means the level of integration demonstrated by what MSI achieved with the WS63 is near impossible, because it goes against the very ethos of what a shared chassis is. The flipside is that you can upgrade most (if not all) components like on a desktop PC.

The model we reviewed – carrying the Clevo model number P775DM3-G – has some marked differences compared to its gaming counterpart. It runs an Intel Core i7-7700K processor with 64GB of RAM (Kingston HyperX Impact 2400MHz), a 512GB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 SSD, two 2TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD in RAID-1 for added storage oomph, plus a single Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of RAM.

The rest of the configuration is identical to the EON17-X model we reviewed back in December 2016.

Sprinkled across the massive chassis (417 x 295 x 406mm) are six USB ports (four 3.0, and the other two are USB 3.1 Type-C), two mini-DisplayPorts, one HDMI, four audio connectors, a Killer E2400 GbE Ethernet port and a card reader, but no optical drive. Wi-Fi is handled by the Killer Wireless AC 1535 solution with audio powered by Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 paired with some decent-sized speakers.

The keyboard is geared towards the gaming community with the ability to customise different colour zones and a decent amount of key travel, plus some good feedback. The touchpad is average with physical buttons and a generous activation area, along with a tiny fingerprint reader.

Inside are four SoDIMM slots (all occupied), two 2.5-inch bays (occupied) and two M.2 ones (one of which is free). A lonely 82Whr 8-cell battery powers this behemoth, charged by a massive 330W power supply unit that weighs 1.25kg by itself, adding to the 4.35kg of the laptop.

Clearly lugging this around requires a seriously solid backpack or shoulder bag. While the NS-17 is made mostly of plastic, there’s little flex even on the keyboard. This is a sturdy piece of kit, which isn’t a surprise given all the components inside.

You can opt for a 3-year part replacement and free shipping warranty for an extra fee, and delivery in the signature Origin ‘wooden crate armour’; those two extras come in at a cool $310 (about £250, AU$415) and the model we reviewed today retails for a smidgen less than $4,263 (about £3,435, AU$5,690).

Just bear in mind that although Origin ships internationally and the warranty covers all costs for part replacements, shipping costs would be the client’s responsibility if you’re based outside of the US. Ouch.

In terms of performance, this is as fast as you can get in terms of portable compute power. It obliterates everything we’ve ever tested up until now from a portable machine, both in terms of CPU and GPU benchmarks (see the table above). Of course, the price to be paid is in battery life and acoustics. Expect whirring fans when the device is under heavy load in order to dissipate the heat generated.

And you can also expect battery life to be poor, especially under load – Origin suggests 2.5 hours of longevity, but we’d half that, particularly with demanding usage.

Early verdict

The Origin NS-17 was never going to be an elegant workstation due to the very nature of its construction. In fact, some might even claim that the term ‘workstation’ doesn’t really apply given the lack of next business day warranty, support for Xeon/ECC/Quadro, enterprise-grade security (no TPM chip for example) and the absence of backing from ISV (e.g. AutoCAD or SolidWorks).

That said, this notebook will still be great for video editing, rendering and photo-editing if the applications used do not require any sort of hardware certification. Note that two other versions of this portable are available, both with twin Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs in tandem.

All in all, it is worth shopping around for other options. Whether you’re based in the US or elsewhere, a quick search online using the chassis descriptor will bring up a dozen PC vendors that sell laptops based on this design (Sager/Xiotic, Eurocom, PC Specialist, EVOC, AVAdirect, Ibuypower, Prostar, Scan, MyPC, Novatech and many more).

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Second 'Unspoken' Tournament Heads To 80 Microsoft Stores

The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. The first rule of Insomniac Games’ The Unspoken, on the other hand, is that everyone should be talking about what we described as a fight club for wizards. That rule will be upheld with the announcement that Oculus, Asus, Microsoft, Intel, ESL, and Insomniac Games have partnered up to host a second tournament for the VR game in select Microsoft stores in the U.S. and Canada.

There’s a lot riding on this second tournament. Oculus is using it to show off its hardware, Asus is using it to advertise the VivoPC X released earlier this month, and Microsoft is using it to get even more people into its Microsoft Stores to see VR in action. (We assume that Intel wants to draw attention to its processors’ VR capabilities, ESL gets more eyeballs on its streams, and Insomniac Games receives free press for its VR game.)

It’s a good thing The Unspoken lends itself to competitions like this. The game tasks you with choosing from various classes with differing spells and using them against your opponent, all while teleporting between multiple columns in the game’s virtual arenas. It’s quick, relies on skill, and shows what VR experiences are capable of giving you. And, naturally, it has the benefit of existing in a post-Harry Potter world obsessed with all things magical.

The tournament will take place in three stages: Anyone can compete at one of the 80 stores participating in the event on May 13. Then, on May 20, the companies will host regional matches, and on June 3 eight finalists will compete at the flagship Microsoft Store in New York. Prizes will be given out at each event, so even if you don’t end up heading to New York in June, the tournament could still be worth a trip to a participating store.

Here are the prizes for May 13:

  • Winners get a $100 Oculus Store credit
  • Participants receive swag and a code to get The Unspoken for free

For May 20:

  • Winners get roundtrip airfare to NYC, a two-night hotel stay, and $150 cash
  • Runners up receive a check for $100

And for June 3:

  • Grand Prize: Asus VivoPC X Oculus Ready machine, Rift + Touch, and $1,250 cash
  • Runners up: Cash prizes

You can register for the tournament and learn more about its rules on the Oculus website. Oculus also announced that you can get a free copy of The Unspoken, Superhot VR, VR Sports Challenge, and Wilson’s Heart if you purchase a $1,299 Asus VivoPC X with the Rift HMD and Touch motion controllers bundled from Amazon or Newegg between now and June 13. (Note that we couldn’t find the bundle on Newegg, and Amazon’s selling it for $1,398 instead of $1,299.)

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Introversion Software's 'Scanner Sombre' Arrives April 26

You might know Introversion Software for its most recent game, Prison Architect. The small studio has continued to work on game prototypes since that title’s release, and it’s finally coming out with a new game on April 26. Instead of building and managing an entire prison complex, you’ll explore a vast and mysterious cave with the help of a scanner in Scanner Sombre.

The objective of Scanner Sombre is simple: You have to make your way through a complex cave network in an attempt to return to the surface. However, most of the cave paths are in complete darkness, and you can only navigate them with the help of a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner. This scanner will map out your surroundings with a plethora of light points, which translates into a 3D map of the cave. Because of the many pathways available throughout the cave network, you’ll probably find some dead ends or paths that loop around to the same sections. You might also encounter some strange figures, which suggests that you might not be alone in the subterranean caverns.

The game was revealed last year as part of an update video for Prison Architect. It was one of two prototype games created by the studio, and even though it was in development for last year, a release date wasn’t announced until today.

When it comes out on Wednesday, you can purchase it through Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store for $12, but it will be available for a limited time with a 20% discount, which brings it down to roughly $10.

Name Scanner Sombre
Type First-person exploration
Developer Introversion Software
Publisher Introversion Software
Platforms PC
Where To Buy
Release Date April 26, 2017

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Touring Maingear: the hypercar auto shop of gaming PC builders

Walking into the headquarters of Maingear, a boutique gaming PC builder based in New Jersey, the building looks like a few that surround it (albeit a bit cleaner): a custom auto body shop.

The front desk and lobby are adorned with countless awards and magazine clippings – with TechRadar’s friends Maximum PC featured among them – resting on shelves and hanging on stark red and white walls.

While showing off a set of sick-looking chassis painted custom by DC Comics artist Tommy Castillo, co-founder and CEO Wallace Santos recalls Maingear’s humble beginnings.

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A stark logo meets visitors in the Maingear lobby, one found predictably plastered throughout.
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The wall of magazine clippings includes fellow Future outlets, like Maximum PC.
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These two chassis were painted by DC Comics artist Tommy Castillo.
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Castillo provided the artwork for Batman Detective and Legends of the Dark Knight.

Newly certified as a networking systems professional, Santos became an independent consultant in 2002. Not long after, a custom gaming PC order gone wrong inspired Santos to try his hand at building computers, already a passion, professionally. 

A lucky break at a CES in Las Vegas and a plug from famed tech pundit Leo LaPorte launched the Maingear rocket, but not without some refinements to its process over the past 15 years.

Most of you couldn’t do this at home

You see, Santos is also pretty hot on automobiles, so as a means of spicing up Maingear’s systems, the founder incorporated auto-grade paint jobs to its suite of services – among the first to do so in the US. (Wait until you see how that’s done.)

So, to accommodate Santos’s love for both PC gaming and automobiles, the CEO created a working environment that looks a lot like the custom car shops seen on shows like Pimp My Ride, only with 100% less Xzibit. 

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Because every technology hardware company practically requires such an area.
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Your first sight stepping into Maingear’s assembly area. There are three such building stations.
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Each of these gray bins contains the components of exactly one custom-ordered gaming PC.
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The end results tend to look like this.

Beyond embodying Santos’s love for custom cars, the attention to detail and tailored service that scene is known for is what the founder and his team care about capturing.

What that looks like is a large garage stands behind Maingear’s office building.The shop buzzes with the sounds of whirring hand drills and snapping cable cutters. 

The first sight upon walking inside are PC builders putting elaborate desktop rigs together, but not at record speed. They’re moving quite quickly, but with precision. They know these chassis in and out, taking one gray bin of PC parts off the shelves at a time and fitting them perfectly inside a variety of chassis, some original designs. Those perfect-looking fits grow challenging when the customer orders hardline liquid cooling, much less choosing which pipe fittings to use.

(Seriously, sometimes the leadership team and system builders deliberate for hours on which pipe fittings to order – the attention to detail is fierce.)

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Maingear’s custom-fitting these Quadro GPUs to a new motherboard for a silent rendering rig.
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Here’s more of that custom GPU work being done in-house.
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And, here’s where those custom-fitted Quadro GPUs will eventually appear.
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This is one of two enormous imaging rigs.
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One of several options for how your Maingear PC will be shipped.

When the PCs are finally built – which sometimes involves customizing components to work in specific scenarios, like the above Nvidia Quadro GPUs going into what will be a silent graphics rendering machine – they’re taken to these Matrix-looking monitor rigs for imaging.

It’s here that Maingear custom images each ordered machine, whether it be a laptop or desktop, according to his or her requests and only those requests. This means only the drivers that the customer needs or wants. And, yes, this includes the HP Omen and Razer R1 machines that Maingear builds and sells in tandem with those brands.

The images are delivered by an OPK server that can fully install a built PC’s BIOS and operating system – drivers and all – in just seven minutes. Now, that’s fast.

When you’re building PCs with this kind of care, time can’t be wasted on imaging systems.

See that small, black bottle to the right of the counter? We weren’t kidding

When a PC is ready to ship, Maingear offers several different boxing options, from straight-up (albeit reinforced) cardboard to plastic crates and luggage-style, plastic shipping crates. But, no Maingear shipping container is closed without getting a spritzing of some new car smell.

It’s at this point that we’re taken out of the building and across the driveway to another garage, but this one is outfitted to be an automobile-grade painting operation. 

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This is where Maingear paints its various custom PC chassis.
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This is what one looks like primed. Doesn’t that painting gear look familiar?
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It’s all the same tools and techniques used when painting automobiles.

Looking just like the spray booths at auto body shops, Maingear has hired ex-auto painters to apply their skills to its line of PC chassis.

Save for what’s actually being painted, nothing about the process is different from that of painting an automobile, we’re told. The result being, of course, is a PC worthy of a photo studio, where all of Maingear’s opulent videos are shot.

Maingear’s auto-inspired approach to building PCs seems to pay off in the results

Take this gorgeous gaming rig custom built for famed DJ and producer deadmau5, for instance.

So, when you order a gaming PC from Maingear, this is where and how your PC is built, egregious chrome pipe fittings and all.

Welcome to TechRadar’s 3rd annual PC Gaming Week, celebrating the almighty gaming PC with in-depth interviews, previews, reviews and features all about one of the TechRadar team’s favorite pastimes. Missed a day? Check out our constantly updated hub article for all of the coverage in one place.

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