Power of 10 02

My experience and thoughts about the power of 10

Nvidia India celebrated the launch of its Pascal architecture

Nvidia hosted an event on June 11th while having the GTX 1070 formal release on June 10th, which does make one ask the question “Why not have it on June 10th” since Nvidia’s punch for Pascal series is ‘The Power of 10’.

Oh, right. It was a weekday. Oh well…

Besides, it’s considered as the ‘celebration of the launch’ of the Pascal architecture.

The trip from Mumbai to Bangalore was taken care by Nvidia. I with Rishi Alwani the senior editor for Gadgets 360 and Chirantan Raut from iLLGaming were boarding the plane at 6 in the morning. Amazing time! I overstressed myself ever since I the got GTX 1080 at that time when other websites started to post GTX 1070 reviews as soon as its NDA was lifted. Armed with 4 hours of sleep, I moved on. We talked about a lot of things that matter between reviewers (the real ones anyway) and few lol around the way.

Unlike typical events held in hotel ballrooms and what not, for a change this was done at Nvidia India’s office. The large cafeteria was converted to accommodate multiple setups so that people can enjoy all sorts of gameplay and check out colorfully modded system builds. The most positive point of this is that unlike most DIY PC related meets and events, this did not involve only one brand- or just Nvidia’s partners. It also involved those that make other components- Coolermaster with CPU coolers, PC chassis and a lot more, Thermaltake, and Corsair. It does in a way inspire people to look towards PC gaming overall, unlike how Sony does with PlayStation and Microsoft with Xbox, even though it obvious excludes AMD for obvious reason. After all, unlike consoles, game content for PC are not restricted on the brand of the graphic card you use, thankfully.

The start is what you’d expect from a typical product launch, with 360-degree video live streamed to Facebook (and maybe Youtube?). Many gamers and some of those who are related to the content generation industry were also invited to come and check out what’s there. That was great! For gamers, They had overwatch, DOOM, The Division and a triple-screen and VR racing setup. If you want something called ‘PC Gaming’ and ‘inspire to PC game’, this pretty much does the job. While there were some rough edges, it wouldn’t really bother people seeing that this is probably the first such experience.

DOOM is excellent to play since it feels very fluidic and fast-paced. Unfortunately, the experience diminishes when its accompanied with a badly designed mouse that feels its made of cheap plastic, especially on the side. If a mouse is lightweight, ideally the quality of the grip of the mouse’ shell should be better- like CM Storm Alcor. Devastator’s mouse is actually better than what I used, and that pretty much says it all. I am not sure which it was, but it is an ambidextrous mouse made by Thermaltake. I really like Core X9 and I used a second-hand Thermaltake Big Typhoon CPU for a very long time until I switch to Noctua NH-U12PSE2 back in the pre-BBQ days. It sucks that the company that made those stuff made this mouse. I hope there are better mice from Thermaltake. Just- not that mouse. Also, few people were discussing the absence of mousepads on the demo systems, hence tracking was difficult.

Talk about bad first impression!!

One best implementation by Nvidia was missed. An opportunity for its AIB partners to show the overclocking potential of their cards- not by using a custom aftermarket full forged copper liquid cooled setup or LN2, but using the pre-installed air cooling or closed-loop liquid cooling unit. This way gamers could get a rough idea about its practical applications and understand the benefits of such GPU cooling designs. It was made apparent for some reason that non-reference designs were not yet supposed to be showcased, nor its price supposed to be tagged or talked about. They don’t require to do that. Just give the platform so that AIB partners can show what it offers in the real world using actual and currently used PC games. Of course, they’ll need to do that in a real-world demonstration or else its just going to be one of those lifeless presentations typically done in channel partner meets. Anyone can show a bunch of slides and make it look good.

One particular non-reference GPU was shown which attracted and inspired a handful of people to consider picking that option. That’s smart, and that’s something others didn’t figure out what they should be doing. Showcasing and talking about the product itself rather than the brand is far more important. People buy the product because it is a good product.

The effectiveness of such demo sessions- yay or nay?

Would such events make a difference for PC gaming in India? For people who never built a good system or going to build one after a very long time? Sure. But they should put the system configuration list next to the demo system next time and maybe have a similar setup but with a GPU belonging to a generation old (or two)! I was a bit surprised when it was said that one GTX 1080 is powerful than two GTX 980 in SLI. Which would have been nice if its backed with a demo. As an example, Intel once showed the difference of the current Intel CPU on its laptop with a second-generation laptop CPU side-by-side in real time by comparing time to encode and playback 4K content. SanDisk showed the difference between mechanical and SSD by having a modern notebook with a mechanical drive and slightly older system with an SSD. Though this is annoying and redundant for tech journalists, this will be a very good example for others. You have to show for people to believe or else they are just words.

But once people get to know the development of things with DIY PC by researching online- and everybody does that- they’ll notice that AMD’s offering on mid-end seems rather tempting enough to wait for its launch. While its showcasing of benchmarks using Ashes of the Singularity looked a bit gimmicky and confusing to interpret, there have been many leaks especially with Futuremark benchmarks where scores typically get submitted online.

Will AMD play their part to reinvigorate PC gaming?

Will AMD do anything similar? Who knows! But if one brand is enjoying a success of promotion from PC gaming in general at the cost of competitor’s efforts to promote their products, why would they do anything similar? Then one sees no sense of doing such promotion and goes back to square 1- doing nothing at all. The side-effects of this would not be apparent until it’s too late, assuming AMD’s new GPU lineups turn to be good not just with Polaris, but VEGA and the ones after them.

PC Expos in India- should it be a thing?

It’s just my opinion based on a limited observation that such events work when it’s done by an organizer showcasing all hardware, including the rivals, in an expo. We really need a proper 3rd party organizer who can pull off a PC expo in India which attracts hardware and gaming enthusiast of all types. It can work if this is done in a small capacity involving everyone with active involvement. If Taiwan Excellence which consists of brands including competitors can pull it off in India, we should be able to do it too on a broader but down-to-earth scale. Alas, the ones I know who could pull it off are both hired by Nvidia. While it is a good career move for them at the time seeing how certain management of certain companies can be a douche, a DIY PC can only grow and thrive if there is a balance between all of them. That’s why Computex works for so long. That’s also why certain PC expos and gaming festivals like insomnia in the UK works and thrives to a point that it builds larger userbase and community beneficial for everybody. It is also important why one should be open to work with a good 3rd party tournament and expo organizer, rather than having him or her working as an employee.

Curious observation

At this point, you should know that Nvidia is making plans to make a lot of content first by streaming gameplay via Youtube and most likely Twitch. They have already made a studio-like setup with all the lights and furniture required. While the details of who is going to make content is uncertain, you should that some of its existing content is made, edited and maintained by the owner of a particular (and popular) gaming website in India. It also managed a lot of Facebook (and maybe Youtube) content for Nvidia during the event, a website that covers games and gaming-related hardware reviews. I hope that they did make a disclosure about helping Nvidia in content generation related matters with/for Nvidia . Or else it will be an interesting topic about ‘conflict of interest’.

There is a case of another website whose founder quit and joined Nvidia- or so I was told. Interestingly, according to the website’s WHOIS detail, the ownership still stays with the founder. This should raise a concern. As an example, Anand Shimpi declared that he was leaving Anandtech for Apple, and then the editorial powers are given to one of his long-time co-workers and sold to a company that also owns Tom’s Hardware. The ownership changed hands. Jon Gerow was the ‘Jonny Guru’ person until he started working for Corsair, and that the registrant’s name of the famous hardware review website was switched to Tony Day. To maintain the neutrality of editorials, even owners/founders believe that it’s important to give up ownership of the site when working for a company. You cannot stay in between or keep the ownership of the site while being an employee of the company who makes a product that your website reviews, and then expect people to believe that a particular website is neutral. No matter how many endorsements you get or folks you get to vouch for you, it does not negate an importance of this point. Just because writers, journalists, bloggers and reviewers in India don’t have that point of view or culture, it does not invalidate the concern.

So does getting other review site owners stand for you, especially when both of them have a history of plagiarism.

While it’s nice to see Nvidia getting into content generation, it’s unlikely anyone would believe that those two independent websites are truly independent. It’s best if those independent website owners declare to their readers rather than me naming it out which may unnecessarily derail the importance of such matters. I just fear that credibility of Indian tech websites will be damaged (well, whatever is left of it). After all, how many websites do you know that maintained its old name and domain, while lasting more than ten years with a stable editorial? I am sure this is not just an opinion of one reviewer or technology journalist. I am not a technology journalist- far from it. Just a guy who can figure out the difference between right, the wrong and the conflicting.

Claiming that it’s not profitable is a weak argument. Instead, it simply raises doubts about the intention of using a website’s long standing userbase.

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