Graphics-hardware company Nvidia is holding its “The Way It’s Meant To Be Played” event today, and the company is announcing a variety of new products and features that solve some of PC gaming’s most nagging issues.
The company announced a new high-end videocard. It revealed a better way to synchronize a GPU with a monitor to get rid of screen tearing. Nvidia also lifted the veil on its GameStream technology, which will enable local game streaming from a PC to TVs or to an Nvidia Shield handheld. It also revealed ShadowPlay, which is Nvidia’s high-performance game-capturing solution built into GeForce graphics cards.
Let’s get into it.
GeForce GTX 780 Ti: A cheaper Titan?
Nvidia didn’t say much in the way of details, but it did reveal its latest high-end card: the GeForce GTX 780 Ti.
The company didn’t reveal the hardware’s specifications, but it intends for this device to replace the $650 standard GeForce GTX 780 on the high end of its market. It is due out in mid-November.
How G-sync will improve future monitors and end screen tearing
PC games often present players with a choice: A smooth frame rate with screen tearing or a stuttering with no tearing and lag. This is the V-sync option in the video menu of most modern PC titles. With V-sync on, it makes sure the graphics card waits until its finished rendering an entire frame before sending it to the monitor. This can cause stuttering and input lag, which is why a lot of people go with V-sync off. In that situation, the video card is sending visual data to the monitor as it renders it, but this can cause the image to tear when one half of the image is newer than the other half.
Nvidia claims it has solved this problem.
“We’ve developed the G-sync module,” Nvidia director of technical marketing Tom Petersen wrote in a blog. “It’s built to fit inside a display and work with the hardware and software in most of our GeForce GTX GPUs. With G-sync, the monitor begins a refresh cycle right after each frame is completely rendered on the GPU. Since the GPU renders with variable time, the refresh of the monitor now has no fixed rate.”
Basically, G-sync is a little chip that fits into a new monitor, and it refreshes the display only when it has a new frame from the GPU.
The downside is that you need a new display to get G-sync. Nvidia said that certain manufacturers are already planning new monitors with this technology, and these should come to market soon.
Nvidia GameStream: Play PC games anywhere
GameStream is the new name for Nvidia’s technology for streaming game content from one system to another. It is currently available in beta form for the company’s Android handheld Shield, and it enables gamers to stream full PC titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from their PC to the portable device.
“[GameStream combines] the high performance of GeForce GTX graphics cards with advanced Wi-Fi technologies to deliver super-smooth, low-latency gaming on the go,” Nvidia technical marketing manager Jason Paul wrote in a blog. “It effectively puts the ultimate GeForce gaming experience in the palm of your hands.”
The technology currently supports 50 PC games, and it will work with upcoming titles Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. It is capable of streaming games at 60 frames per second over a network.
For now, Nvidia only intends GameStream to work for local streaming of content, but it plans for GameStream to eventually support cloud gaming using its Grid technology.
ShadowPlay can broadcast and constantly record gameplay
Finally, Nvidia is tackling gameplay recording and livestreaming with its new ShadowPlay technology.
“GeForce ShadowPlay is a high-performance, fast and free gameplay-capturing tool that’s available exclusively to GeForce customers,” GeForce general manager Scott Herkelman wrote in a blog post. “It’s also super easy to use, having the H.264 encoder built directly into GeForce GTX 600 and 700 series GPUs.”
ShadowPlay has two modes. In Shadow mode, gamers can hit Alt+F10 on their keyboard at any time to instantly save the last 10 minutes of gameplay. Alternatively, in Manual mode, gamers can toggle recording off and on by tapping Alt+F9. Of course, players can choose to have both on simultaneously.
Nvidia will also soon support broadcasting to livestreaming website Twitch for gamers who want to share their gameplay with the world.