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HW News - Steam Games in Political Wire Fraud Case, RX 5500 XT Listings, & PS5/Xbox Rumors

Posted on December 8, 2019

There's nothing quite as validating as finding out that your hobby is featured in a political misspending and wire fraud case and, for many hardware enthusiasts, that day came when a US politician was found guilty of illegally spending campaign money on over $1300 of Steam games. In the meantime, though, we've got news on AMD RX 5500 XT listings in China, AMD CPU marketshare growth via Steam Hardware Survey, NVIDIA saying that more FPS = more kills, and more.

AMD RX 5500 XT Listed in China

Twitter user and reknown hardware detective momomo_us spotted listings over at a Chinese retailer for the AMD RX 5500 XT. The listings don’t offer much in the way of specifications outside of a December 12th availability, and confirming AIM partners such as SFX, Sapphire and Yeston -- the latter producing perhaps one of the best GPUs ever made.  

Source: https://twitter.com/momomo_us/status/1202560170758299648

AMD CPU Marketshare on Steam Over 20%

AMD’s tide continues to rise, especially as it relates to Ryzen and CPU marketshare in the client desktop segment. The most recent Steam hardware survey shows AMD at 20% for processor usage, where just two years ago, AMD sat at 8%. AMD has notched a ~2% jump since July 2019, when it launched Ryzen 3000 and sat at roughly 18% usage among Steam users. 

6-core CPUs are also at the top of the chart in terms of the biggest bump in adoption, with a 1.46% gain. Steam doesn’t breakdown AMD vs Intel here, as both offer 6-core chips. However, it’s safe to assume a surge in sales for R5 CPUs. AMD’s GPU usage remains around the 15% mark, while also showing the Radeon 5700 and 5700 XT having not gained a lot of ground amongst Steam users; the RX 580 and 570 are still AMD’s top cards.  

Source: https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/

NVIDIA Says High FPS = More Kills

Nvidia recently published a lengthy blog post detailing how frames win games, and why gamers should aspire beyond the gold standard of 60Hz and 60 FPS. In true Nvidia fashion, it wasn’t exactly impartial in its analysis, but did a reasonable job in pleading its case for higher FPS gaming. Specifically, 240 FPS/Hz gaming. 

Nvidia starts out by outlining the difference between refresh rates and frame rates, which like Nvidia states, are often used interchangeably. It then moves onto how a disparity between GPU output and display refresh rates leads to tearing, and how V-SYNC can add input latency. Nvidia also took the chance to plug G-SYNC here. 

Nvidia also makes its case by alleging smoother animations that lead to better target tracking, and fewer distractions due to less ghosting. Most interestingly, Nvidia arguing for lower system latency at 240 FPS/Hz. Nvidia suggests that 240 FPS/Hz affects the rendering pipeline and can lead to the rendering being closer to the state of the game.

“Starting at the beginning of time, each system’s CPU receives the player’s position at the same time. In this example, the CPU and the GPU take approximately the same time to prepare and render the frame. The CPU portion of the pipeline on the 60 FPS system is 4 times longer than the 240 FPS system. Similarly, the GPU render time is also four times longer on the 60 FPS system. Finally, the display section is also 4 times longer on the 60 FPS system as the refresh cycle is 4 times slower than a 240 Hz display.”

“On a 60 FPS/Hz system it simply takes longer to process and is therefore further behind the actual state of the game. At 240 FPS/Hz, the rendering is much closer to the actual state of the game, but there is still some difference,” explains Nvidia. 

Source: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/news/what-is-fps-and-how-it-helps-you-win-games

Dell Evaluating AMD as Partner Amidst Intel Shortage

Intel’s ironclad grip on marketshare across computing segments is in no small part due to its partnerships with leading OEMs and ensuring their designs are based on Intel platforms. Dell is one such partner, and has been something of an Intel loyalist for some 35 years. And while Dell has increasingly introduced more AMD-based designs, the company has been hesitant in its partnership with AMD. That could be changing.

According to Yahoo, Dell’s potential change in tune stems from the company’s most recent quarter, where it saw a 6% decline in consumer PCs, and a 16% decline in servers. Dell CFO Tom Sweet confirmed to Yahoo that Dell is “evaluating AMD chips” and expects Intel’s shortage to extend all the way into the second half of 2020. 

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/dell-amd-pcs-intel-cpu-shortage


Rumor: PS5, Xbox Project Scarlett to Use Samsung NVMe SSDs

Both Sony and Microsoft have confirmed that their next consoles, Xbox Project Scarlett and the PS5 are moving to solid state storage. Beyond that though, details regarding the storage systems have been scarce -- aside from the liberal use of the term “next gen.”

However, at the Samsung SSD forum in Tokyo, it was heavily implied that Samsung could very likely be the vendor of choice for Sony and Microsoft. During a presentation, Samsung called attention to a particular slide mentioning the era of SSDs in consoles for 2020. The slide then illustrates an “optimized NVMe” SSD delivering superior system boot times and game launches, when compared against an HDD and SATA SSD. 

The slide doesn’t mention an interface, but we could assume PCIe 4.0 is in order -- doubly so as both consoles are using custom AMD Ryzen silicon, which already supports PCIe 4.0.   

Source: https://hothardware.com/news/sony-ps5-microsoft-xbox-project-scarlett-samsung-nvme-ssd

Broke Politician Spent Campaign Money on Steam Games

The vaping congressman Duncan Hunter who was charged with misappropriating more than $150,000 in campaign funds has pleaded guilty. The siphoned funds were used for campaign mainstays like Steam games and plane tickets for rabbits. 

“As detailed in the indictment, the Hunters stole money from the campaign for items as inconsequential as fast food, movie tickets and sneakers; as trivial as video games, Lego sets and Playdoh; as mundane as groceries, dog food,  and utilities; and as self-indulgent as luxury hotels, overseas vacations and plane tickets for their family pet rabbits, Eggburt and Cadbury – all while their family was otherwise deeply in debt,” reads the press release. 

It was previously implied that as much as $1,302 was spent on Steam games. We currently can’t confirm whether Hunter bought them during a Steam sale, or paid full price like a pleb.  

Source: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/congressman-duncan-d-hunter-pleads-guilty-stealing-campaign-funds

Editorial: Eric Hamilton
Host: Steve Burke
Video: Josh Svoboda, Andrew Coleman