Thanks to Nvidia, you'll soon be able to stream a ton of games to Facebook Live. At its big CES press conference, Nvidia made the announcement, which could help make Facebook Live a bona fide platform for esports and friendly game streaming.
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Nvidia started out as a graphics card company. Nvidia basically invented the performance GPU. But Nvidia does a lot more than desktop graphics these days. VR, AR, mixed reality, self-driving and autonomous vehicles, deep learning neural networks — all these use technology that started out running the first 3D-accelerated PC games 20 years ago.
Virtual reality finally arrived. Self-driving cars started wandering streets and past red lights. SpaceX aborted a rocket launch four times within a week. Samsung started strong with the Galaxy S7 and finished with the Note7 nuking itself into orbit while you slept.
We had new graphics cards, and most of them were pretty damn good. Consoles broke the mould by releasing new hardware mid-cycle and becoming more like PCs than ever before. And, unsurprisingly, we found out once again that Einstein really knew his shit.
It's been a big year for tech. Let's break down this year's biggest moments.
Nvidia's recent portable graphics renaissance means you can now get a notebook that can run all the latest games with the same visual fidelity as a proper dekstop PC.
Aorus is Gigabyte's premium gaming brand, and its X5v6 is a phenomenally powerful laptop — overclocked CPU, GTX 1070 graphics, super-fast SSDs — that barely weighs 2.5kg. This might be the lightest hardcore laptop for gaming and VR that you can buy right now.
Virtual reality is great and all, but it needs a little more space — especially if you're using a room-scale HTC Vive. And that probably means you're going to want to set up your powerful VR gaming PC in an open area like your living room. And that means you're going to want a PC that can hide out of the way in your TV cabinet. Enter the MSI Trident, the world's smallest VR-ready PC.
If you've got a PC that isn't cutting-edge — like most people out there — but you still want to play games, even a modest upgrade to your computer's graphics card can mean massive gains for in-game performance. Nvidia wants you to buy its card for exactly that purpose, even if your machine is four or five years old.
Nvidia has made a tiny artificial intelligence computer for powering the high definition mapping and highway automated driving of autonomous vehicles.
Snapped up by China's Baidu as the in-vehicle car computer for its self-driving cloud-to-car system, the palm-sized Drive PX 2 allows cars to use deep neural networks to process data from multiple cameras and sensors — all while using just 10 watts of power.
Driverless cars are very cool, but the technology that enables their self-driving smarts requires a novel mix of raw computational and deep learning power, using both general-purpose CPUs and GPUs to crunch real-time data and match it to a massive catalogue of imagery and vehicle profiles. A brand new Nvidia processor, the company says, has the power to finally make it happen.
You haven't really experienced PC gaming if you've been playing on a laptop instead of a desktop. You've enjoyed the convenience of taking your games anywhere, but you've sacrificed playability for mobility. Your games are rarely pretty. You run things on mid-to-low settings. The newest games struggle. But with Nvidia's latest new line of mobile video cards based on the Pascal chip architecture, that's all going to change. Nvidia just closed the gap between mobile and desktop PC gamers, and made VR accessible to a much larger audience.
When Nvidia released its latest Pascal graphics cards for desktop PCs, it signalled a significant jump in outright performance from the previous Maxwell generation, with a completely new architecture offering not only improved frame rates but also much more efficient energy consumption — the critical metric of performance per Watt. Nvidia has taken that leap further with a new range of 10-series graphics chipsets for gaming laptops, and unlike in previous generations they're not operating at a huge performance disadvantage versus desktops.
It's always easier to replace a video card than it is a CPU and motherboard, so it's not surprising to find people with a GTX 1060 or RX 480 surrounded by comparatively ancient components. These setups are sacrificing some performance by bottle-necking their GPU, sure, but exactly how much is going to waste?