AMD has unveiled three new graphics cards under the Radeon RX 6000 series: AMD Radeon RX 6800, AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, and its new flagship AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT. The last of them is the fastest gaming graphics card AMD has ever developed, the American giant claimed in its announcement. The first two — RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT — will be available November 18 at $579 (about Rs. 43,000) and $649 (about Rs. 48,000) respectively, with the RX 6900 XT following December 8 for $999 (about Rs. 74,000). India prices have not been revealed and are expected closer to launch date, which should be in line with the global launch.
The three new AMD Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards go up against Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000 series, which were announced in early September and rolled out later that month globally, including India. The GeForce RTX 3000 series starts at $499/ Rs. 51,000 (for the RTX 3070) and goes up to $1,499/ Rs. 1,52,000 (for the RTX 3090, Nvidia’s new flagship). If AMD too sticks to the $1 = Rs. 100 price conversion strategy like Nvidia (and many others by now) — this is thanks to local taxes and import duties — expect the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series to cost between Rs. 58,000 – Rs. 1,00,000.
Though AMD’s new graphics cards have a higher starting price point ($579 for RX 6800 vs $499 for RTX 3070), it’s undercutting Nvidia elsewhere: $649 for RX 6800 XT vs $699 for RTX 3080, and $999 for RX 6900 XT vs $1,499 for GeForce RTX 3090. The last of them is especially going to make heads turn, with a 33 percent difference between the price of their respective flagships. Of course, it’s impossible to say at this point if performance will be comparable. AMD has a lot of new bells and whistles it’s touting for the Radeon RX 6000 series.
First up, there’s the new AMD RDNA 2 gaming architecture — it’s also being used in both next-gen consoles, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X, though only the latter will have “full hardware support” for all its capabilities — which promises to deliver two times the performance in select games, even though it’s still using the 7-nanometre transistor size. That’s a bit of a cherry-picked number, as it compares the RX 6900 XT to RX 5700 XT (which uses AMD RDNA).
What does RNDNA 2 offer? Improved energy efficiency, reduced latency (thanks to AMD Infinity Cache), and 30 percent frequency boost at the same power level. There’s also support for DirectX 12 Ultimate API that was previously limited to Nvidia GPUs. It allows for ray-tracing (real-time lighting, shadows and reflections) and variable rate shading. AMD says that developers can aim for both quality and performance when this is combined with its own AMD FidelityFX, a collection of lighting, shadow and reflection effects that help with hybrid rendering.
Additionally, the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series also supports AMD Smart Access Memory (this only works if you also have an AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPU and AMD B550/ X570 motherboard), Microsoft DirectStorage (for faster loading times and high-quality textures), Radeon Software Performance Tuning presets (one-click settings including “Rage Mode” stable overclocking), and Radeon Anti-Lag (quicker response times).
The one drawback is an AMD equivalent of Nvidia’s DLSS: deep learning super sampling. With DLSS, Nvidia GPUs render fewer pixels and then use “AI” to upsample them to higher resolutions. This decreases the load on RTX 3000 series while still allowing for close to native resolution quality. AMD has a tech of its own called Super Resolution, but it hasn’t provided any details as it’s still in the works and won’t be available for several months after the launch of Radeon RX 6000 series. This also means AMD’s ray-tracing won’t be on the same level as Nvidia’s for now.
In a prepared statement, AMD graphics’ corporate VP and GM Scott Herkelman said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of R&D focused on bringing the best of AMD Radeon graphics to the enthusiast and ultra-enthusiast gaming markets, and represents a major evolution in PC gaming. The new AMD Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT graphics cards deliver world class 4K and 1440p performance in major AAA titles, new levels of immersion with breathtaking life-like visuals, and must-have features that provide the ultimate gaming experiences.”
The AMD Radeon RX 6000 series will begin roll-out in November, with cards offered by AMD, in addition to its partners in ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Sapphire, and XFX.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Sarnia-Lambton increased Saturday by four to 22, public health officials reported.
The increase was a result of six more confirmed cases, bringing the running total in Sarnia-Lambton to 426, and two more resolved cases, Lambton public health officials said in their daily update.
The total number of resolved cases was 379.
Friday Bluewater Health announced the number of patients with confirmed COVID-19 being cared for at Sarnia’s hospital had dropped to zero for the first time since Oct. 29.
An outbreak was declared Friday at an unnamed workplace due to two confirmed cases, and two cases this week were linked to Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School, sending 19 students home to quarantine.
Sarnia-Lambton remained in the yellow, protect bracket in Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 response framework.
There have been 25 local COVID-19 deaths, but none since early June.
Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin will take the first woman to the moon’s surface, the billionaire said on Friday as NASA nears a decision to pick its first privately built lunar landers capable of sending astronauts to the moon by 2024.
“This (BE-7) is the engine that will take the first woman to the surface of the Moon,” Bezos said in a post on Instagram with a video of the engine test this week at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The BE-7 engine, which Blue Origin has been developing for years, has tallied 1,245 seconds of test-fire time and will power the company’s National Team Human Landing System lunar lander.
Blue Origin has vied for lucrative government contracts in recent years and is competing with rival billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Dynetics, owned by Leidos Holdings Inc, to win a contract to build NASA’s next human lunar landing system to ferry humans to the moon in the next decade.
1:32 Jeff Bezos unveils mockup of moon lander ‘Blue Moon’
Jeff Bezos unveils mockup of moon lander ‘Blue Moon’ – May 9, 2019
In April, NASA awarded a lunar lander development contract to Blue Origin’s team worth $579 million, as well as two other companies: SpaceX which received $135 million to help develop its Starship system and Leidos-owned Dynetics which won $253 million.
NASA is poised to pick two of the three companies “in early March” 2021 to continue building their lander prototypes for crewed missions to the moon beginning in 2024, an agency spokeswoman has said.
But slim funds for the landing systems made available to NASA by Congress, as well as uncertainty over the incoming Biden administration’s views on space exploration, have threatened to delay NASA’s decision to advance the lunar lander contracts.
The next-gen version of Madden 21 released a day early for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S fans who already owned the game on current-gen consoles.
I’ve been playing the game since early on December 3, and one thing is pretty clear to me; it’s that this experience doesn’t warrant a full review because it’s not a brand new game.
I believe I’d be doing EA and fans a disservice by placing a score on what I consider more of a remastering than a new game.
That said, here’s the good, the bad and the bottom line.
Slight Visual Upgrade
If you’re looking for the kind of visual upgrade that gamers saw with NBA 2K21 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find that here. That said, there are some cutscenes between plays that will draw some admiration.
The best upgrade inthe next-gen version is in the PlayStation 5 controller. The haptic feedback comes through nicely on tackles and some of the ball-carrying situations. I adds a bit to the immersion and delivers an on-the-field quality.
Play-Calling Menu is an Adjustment, But a Long-Term Win
The new play-calling menu has more options than before, like finding plays for specific targets, and even making a favorites list. The UI is very different than what most Madden fans are used to, so there is some adjustment necessary.
Still, I see it as a change that will be positive in the long run.
I usually call this the bad section, but instead, I’m going with “the underwhelming.”
It’s not necessarily bad–at least not in every instance–and as I mentioned, this is more of a remaster than a full new release.
Players Feel More Weighted, But it Needs Balancing
Some users may like this, and I might ultimately join that group. However, at this point, the players mostly feel slow and sluggish with the exception of the most dynamic athletes like Tyreek Hill, Lamar Jackson and Christian McCaffrey.
I’m all for there being a differentiator in this vein, but at the moment, the defense seems to be at a major disadvantage in space against most any skill position player. In my experiences, this has led to a lot more big plays down the field caused by missed tackles.
The players definitely move more realistically than before, which was the major connection with Next-Gen Stats, but defensive players need a little bit of a buff to allow them to compete. I think this is fixable, or admittedly, it might be something I get used to over the next few weeks.
However, at this point, current-gen Madden is actually more fun to play. That’s probably a bit of death blow, but after further review, it’s how I’m feeling.
Weather Effects Aren’t a Thing
I was initially told weather would have no impact on gameplay.
Later, I was told the slipping and dropped passes from current-gen would still be in the game. I haven’t seen either as of yet, and quite honestly, I’m not sure they were ever quite as impacting as they should have been on PS4 or Xbox One.
While it is nice to see the footprints in the snow on parts of the field, this aspect of the presentation is the epitome of underwhelming.
No New Modes
I’ll keep this pretty short and plain: there are no new next-gen exclusive modes.
Lower-Quality Visuals in Some Instances
EA wanted to make sidelines more visibly appealing, and they accomplished their goal in some areas. However, there are some instances where the next-gen version becomes a visual downgrade. In some cutscenes, it appears the heads of linemen have simply been placed on the body of a wide receiver or defensive back.
The body types don’t match and this creates a very unfavorable looking model on the screen–especially considering this is a next-gen upgrade.
Next-Gen Stats is a Useless Gimmick at This Point
One of the biggest drivers for Madden 21 on next-gen was the use of Next-Gen Stats. A great usage of this tech would have been as an engine behind a new ratings system.
However, instead it’s more of a useless statistical overlay that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. A number pops up on the screen during some pretty nice looking replays, but none of the speeds actually feel faster than the others, and it feels as though it’s all arbitrarily issued just for the sake of the graphic.
Hopefully EA builds this out into something with more meat on the bones in future versions of the game.
The Bottom Line
Madden 21 on next-gen was free to anyone who bought the game on PS4 or Xbox One X. Because of that, it’s hard to complain about it taking just a small bunny hop forward from the current-gen version.
That said, it’s impossible not to compare this to what 2K did with NBA 2K21. The difference is night and day. NBA 2K21 on next-gen still has some bugs to work out to reach its potential, but at least they tried to deliver a different experience.
At some point in the next couple of weeks, NBA 2K21 will have its act together, and it will have still delivered a true next-gen experience about eight months before Madden.
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