Nvidia unwittingly compromise gaming performance

      Comments Off on Nvidia unwittingly compromise gaming performance

Nvidia made significant changes when launching Pascal

Several major improvements were made in the latest Nvidia Pascal graphics family. The smaller nm design reduced the TDP (thermal design power) significantly. As a result Nvidia were able to optimise their manufacturing process, by combining mobile and desktop platforms into a single design. The same GPUs are used in both Mobile products like laptops (MXM modules) and high-end desktop systems (PCIeX16 cards) .

This was exciting news, many news articles were published reporting that performance would be the same for both mobile and desktop formats. However the journalists overlooked the impact of the down-clocking required to develop a reliable solution within the confined space of a mobile product.

How do the Nvidia Pascal base specifications compare?

On paper, there is little to chose between the specs. The 20% reduction in power consumption is the most notable variation between mobile and desktop products. The TDP is dependant on implementation, so this is really a red herring. In theory with sufficient cooling the manufacturer is able to clock the GPU to the same speed as the desktop variant. This achieves similar performance, which explains why techpowerup.com report the desktop variant with less performance than the mobile counterpart.

Caption GTX 1070 Mobile GTX 1070 Desktop GTX 1080 Mobile GTX 1080 Desktop
Graphics Core GP104 GP104-200-A1 N17E-G3 GP104-400-A1
Manufacturing process 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET
CUDA Cores 2048 1920 2560 2560
Transistors 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion
ROP units 64 64 64 64
TMUs 128 120 160 160
Core clock speed 1442 MHz 1506 MHz 1566 MHz 1607 MHz
Boost clock speed 1645 MHz 1683 MHz 1771 MHz 1733 MHz
Memory clock 2002 MHz
8008 MHz effective
2002 MHz
8008 MHz effective
1251 MHz
10008 MHz effective
1251 MHz
10008 MHz effective
Memory interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Total memory bandwidth 256GB/s 256GB/s 320 GB/s 320 GB/s
Total GPU memory 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
TDP 120W 150W 150W 180 W
Computing Power (FP32) 5,906 GFLOPS 5,783 GFLOPS 7,967  GFLOPS 8,228 GFLOPS
Memory Bandwidth 256.3 GB/s 256.3 GB/s 320 GB/s 320 GB/s
Pixel Rate 92.3 GPixel/s 96.4 GPixel/s 99.6 GPixel/s 102.8 GPixel/s
Texture Rate 184.6 GTexel/s 180.7 GTexel/s 249.0 GTexel/s 257.1 GTexel/s
Data source link GTX-1070-mobile  GTX-1070 GTX-1080-mobile GTX-1080

How does true performance of mobile and desktop GPUs compare?

Actual performance paints a very different picture to the specs above. There is a significant performance gap between mobile and desktop products in real world tests. The GTX 1080 mobile product is outperformed by the desktop GTX 1070 according to Futuremark. This is a significant ~25% performance gap which is being overlooked.

The average buyer is unlikely to identify the drop in their hardware’s performance. After all, few consumers carry out and compare benchmark scores. In my opinion many consumers are being short changed. The GTX-1070 sells for 30% less than the GTX-1080, yet mobile GTX-1080 devices perform closer to the GTX-1070 spec.

Futuremark.com/hardware/gpu Img

Futuremark Nvidia Pascal Mobile vs Desktop performance comparison

Why is there such a performance difference in the same Nvidia GPU core?

How the manufacturer configures the card has a huge impact on the performance gap. There’s few technical limitations which prevent the mobile GPU being clocked to match the speed of the desktop counterpart. But with the comparatively huge heatsink and fan assemblies allowing the average desktop card to be configured >10% over base frequencies, it begins to explain why we see such a significant performance gap.

The GPU selection process during manufacturing could have an impact in the performance gap. Understandably the professional cards get first dibs on the best performing GPUs. The Quadro and Tesla products carry a price tag as many as 10 times higher than the commercial counterpart. As a result these professional cards see a 20-30% performance increase, despite the clock speeds being sparingly applied. If the mobile are lower in the selection process than desktop it would help to explain performance drop further.

Notebooks are not the only devices using Nvidia mobile GPUs!

Powerful small form-factor gaming PC’s are flooding the market. comprehensive ranges of small form factor computers are being manufactured by Zotac, MSI, ASUS, Alienware and Syber. The computers are aimed at the growing number of gamers that want to play from the comfort of their living room. The first entrants used desktop cards within the design. However the drive to have the smallest most compact design has led to the use of mobile GPUs.

Steam have helped the small form factor gaming pc market grow. Their ‘Steam Machines’ initiative has helped develop the demand. The new form-factors has also sparked the interest of industry. Industry sectors such as hospitality and simulation are using solutions based on the technology to reduce size, weight and cost in various applications. I am currently working on such a project, which is why I have developed an understanding of the solutions and the market.

Mini Gaming PC Img








What’s inside a Steam Machine?

There are many manufacturers of small form-factor gaming computers, each of them have different designs which use a whole range of processors and GPUs. The smaller mobile based solutions are using small form factor boards similar to the Mini-STX footprint. Most of these boards are bespoke to the product. One notable board is the ASRock H110-STX MXM, it will allow system integrators to build small form factor units.

I toredown a Zotac Magnus EN1060, one of the smallest high-end gaming computers available. To my surprise I found a MXM GFX card installed. I had reviewed the specs on multiple occasions and saw no indication that it was equipped with a mobile GPU. In fact the Zotac specifications page doesn’t include details of the GPU or memory clock speeds, so it is difficult to tell what performance level to expect! A worrying development! Particularly when there is little to no benchmark data available (especially in comparison to desktop equivalent setups).

Zotac EN1060 Nvidia GTX 1060 mini PC teardown

Zotac EN1060 Nvidia GTX 1060 mini PC teardown


To give Zotac credit, the design is well constructed. The use of an MXM module allows higher volume manufacturing of the motherboard. Reducing  cost by consolidating the design across the series. The design is very compact and runs very quietly. If I had one complaint, it would be that the unit runs quite warm. The unit intakes air from all sides including the two where it exhausts, this results in warm air circulating which will not help performance.

Was the mobile GPU configuration in Zotac unit compromising performance?

The GTX 1060 inside this system isn’t as powerful as the desktop card. The GTX 1060 in the unit runs at 1,405MHz with a boost clock of 1,671MHz; on the proper desktop card those figures sit at 1,506MHz and 1,708MHz. The mobile GTX 1060 version scored 8,578 in 3DMark Fire Strike, a PC with the desktop card would score nearly two thousand points more!


Despite Nvidia’s Pascal using the same GPU for mobile and desktop products, consumers should expect a 25% performance gap. It is concerning that a mixture of both mobile and desktop solutions are being advertised as the same product. Buyers must tread carefully to avoid disappointment and not buy based on the ‘GTX-10XX’ model number alone.

Nvidia have presented manufacturers an opportunity to up-sale mobile designs as full fat desktop products. Ultimately this will create disappointment with the consumer and lead to damaging consumer trust and brand reputation. System manufacturers may lose sales once consumers understand the performance sacrifice that is being hidden from them.

Kinect port axed – Is Microsoft overlooking VR?

      Comments Off on Kinect port axed – Is Microsoft overlooking VR?

Microsoft made another step towards the end of Kinect by removing the port from the Scorpio’s spec. Most reaction to this is “so what”, but I believe they are missing an opportunity to improve AR and VR (or Mixed Reality) experiences!

Why have Microsoft cut the Kinect Port?

It’s fair to say the Kinect is one of the most under used console peripherals. It is easy to understand why they have removed the port. It will reduce cost, which will maximise their competitiveness against competition. After all the impressive high-end hardware spec is sure to make the asking price of the Scorpio steep! Even for the more passionate of console gamer.

I personally have made very little use of the Kinect on the Xbox One. Other than the occasional skype call and using my Xbox to turn my TV and Amp on/off it gets no use. I haven’t even played a single Kinect game since the console was released in 2013. I just don’t find controlling the game with movement engaging enough when viewed on the TV, but in a VR space the experience would be much more compelling!

Will Scorpio support Virtual Reality

Microsoft will support some form of virtual reality, but they will most likely define it with their confusing ‘Mixed Reality’ term. Microsoft have given little away about how Scorpio will bring VR/AR to gamers, but they are working on enough initiatives to support the theory that it will support VR/AR.

Why the decision to ditch the Kinect port may prove to be premature

The Kinect has the potential to add tracking of objects and limbs into the virtual reality experience! Any HTC Vive or Oculus Touch owner will have noticed that their body is missing in the VR world. This is strange at first, but something you do get used to quickly. However, without knowing how your body is positioned, contact in VR is purely based on head and hand (controller) position. Objects often pass through you, which could be avoided if the kinect tracked your limbs! This would make the experience much more immersive and allow a host of improvements to gameplay.

If Microsoft learn lessons from Oculus and HTC, they will realise that the amount of money we  will part with is directly impacted by the immersion within the virtual world. This is because the enjoyment of VR games are directly influenced by how immersive the experience is. Oculus have certainly learnt this the hard way! Their headset is cheaper and superior (in many ways) to the HTC Vive, but the room tracked controllers of the HTC Vive offer a more immersive experience. This has ultimately led to HTC making more sales despite a smaller marketing drive. Oculus have since released their touch controllers which certainly help bridge the gap, but has left them trailing.


Microsoft have confirmed that the Kinect can function with the use of a $40 breakout cable. Never the less any steps that reduce likely hood of the average user owning the Kinect alongside a compatible VR headset will impact on the size of the audience. Therefore developers will have little desire to innovate their games to include Kinect tracking. I for one no longer hold hope of seeing this potentially game changing development take place!

Kinect tracked virtual reality Bella Img

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Review

      Comments Off on Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Review

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Steam LogoNextGenClassic review ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality’ for the HTCvive.

“A triumph for any Rick and Morty fan”


Be warned, as a fan of the series I maybe a little bias! Those looking for value for money should also look elsewhere or wait for offers, but those who want to see a truly well made VR game should look no further!

A 73% score ensure this game sits among the best scores achieved to-date.

NextGenClassic Rick&MortyVR Img








Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality in-game screenshot

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality in-game screenshot

A new scorecard is required to compare VR games!

      Comments Off on A new scorecard is required to compare VR games!

The problem with VR gaming!

I have spent a shedload of money on VR games over the last year, I have over 200 games in total! Most of which were poor purchases made as a result of poor reviews from one site or another. It’s tough to pick between well developed Indie titles and rushed to market dross (titles where the developer is looking for a quick buck!). With major game review sites sticking to high profile releases a reliable source for judging the wide range of virtual reality content is hard to come by.

What’s the solution?

How about an agreed scoring system which helps level the ranging opinions of individuals who leave reviews? Sounds good? If so perhaps we can build something together? I am considering writing occasional reviews of the titles I purchase (and have already purchased).

I’d like to use the scorecard data to create a filterable database to help newcomers to VR to pick out the titles worthy of purchase. There are many great games which don’t make it anywhere near Steams top sellers. These titles are getting lost in the dross, which is a great shame and unfair on the developers.

The first draft VR Scorecard

Below is my first stab at a template with appropriate guidelines for completion. Please take a look and comment below to help make improvements!VR Review Scorecard

What can you do?

Plenty! Adopt the system, share your reviews with us (in essence, help create content). Failing that provide comments, ideas, thoughts and suggestions, they are all welcome. Failing that a word of encouragement would go a long way!

Integrated graphics may lead to an affordable VR future

      Comments Off on Integrated graphics may lead to an affordable VR future

In this blog I explore whether Intel® HD Iris™ Graphics will function with the HTC Vive VR headset. The results may surprise you! Warning, don’t try it yourself without a sick bag!

Why did I experiment?

I recently upgraded my graphics card and used the integrated graphics for a while to during the transition. After a few beers a daft idea came to mind, “I wonder if my CPU’s integrated graphics can support SteamVR?”. Off I went to connect it up and give it a try.

Did Intel Iris graphics work with the HTC Vive?

Much to my surprise the SteamVR app opened and the HMD displays connected. I didn’t even get as much as a warning. Consequently I’d gone from intrigued to excited, thinking to myself “Wow! Perhaps some of the simpler games (with low polygon counts) would work! This could be great news!”

How was the VR experience with integrated graphics?

I strapped on the headset and took a look around, and almost instantly felt motion sick (bad idea after the beers). I retreated to my monitor to see what was going on, unfortunately even the Steam menu environment was too taxing for the integrated graphics, after a little investigation I found I was getting less than 10 frames per seccond, which convinced me to bring an end to the experiment.

Intel and AMD’s call to action to grow the PC VR industry:

The experience did get me thinking, I’m pretty confident that if Intel® wanted to, they could get basic VR working with integrated graphics. It may only take a little architecture and driver optimisation. With many of the best VR games being very simple (sometimes almost direct ports from mobile VR titles), perhaps reducing the overhead cost of the high-end graphics card would be enough to significantly reduce the upfront cost for home VR setups? Coupled with lower costs headsets coming soon, perhaps Intel’s and AMD’s integrated graphics hold the key to growing the VR market!

Intel inside amazing VR outside


Will there be a place for both VR and AR in the future?

      Comments Off on Will there be a place for both VR and AR in the future?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by the potential of AR and a little used to the magic of VR. So far I haven’t taken the opportunity to try out HoloLens or equivalents, but the more I read, the more impressed I become with the possibilities that await us!

With Microsoft’s Xbox Scorpio’s VR/AR future unclear, I am hoping that they add support for both platforms. Each will have its advantages and experiences for both AR and VR will differ in presentation and in most cases will be fairly unique to the platform.

One thing for sure, there are exciting times ahead.

ARvsVR Img

Fun night last night playing Arizona Sunshine Multiplayer

      Comments Off on Fun night last night playing Arizona Sunshine Multiplayer

Arizona Sunshine’s ‘Undead Valley’ is a lot of fun coop! 3 hours of zombie killing and we managed to make the top 40 on the leader board.

Don’t tell anyone that you can put your head through open windows and teleport through! Otherwise were fall down the leader board quicker than the undead chasing the scent of fresh blood.

Holiday season & priorities

      Comments Off on Holiday season & priorities

Its been a busy few weeks, but unfortunately not productive ones. In-order to make working functional demo to showcase the game there is a significant amount of development to do, much more than I was intending ahead of being greenlit! Its all risk now, this project started as a fun project and its become hard work. As a result progress is slowing to make way for more downtime to address work-life balence issues.

In the last few weeks there has been lots of improvements and most of the known bugs have been resolved, but nothing notable to show off ATM.

Back with further information in coming weeks.

Beer in the sun

Good start on Greenlight, but help needed… please :)

      Comments Off on Good start on Greenlight, but help needed… please :)

So after 2 days on greenlight we’re 30% of the way to being Greeenlit (apparently). Sounds great, but the internet traffic has slowed down to a snail pace. So, i’m looking for some help. Truth be known i’m not much of a online blogger and have had very little interest in creating a internet pressence, so I’m calling on friends to help give me a push. Its perhaps a flawed plan, because a game designed for VR means you need to own a VR headset to play (obviously) and i’m the only person I know which has one…. But still its worth a try right?

Anyway, I have a plan B, but it will take a few weeks to prepare (so I’m hoping I don’t have to rely on it).

If you heavn’t already please click on the site banner to vote now!