Google Stadia uses a custom AMD chip to offer 10.7 teraflops of cloud gaming power

See the original posting on The Verge

The beauty of a cloud gaming service is two-fold: 1) you can theoretically play any game, anywhere where you’ve got a good enough internet connection to stream it over the net, and 2) even if you’re playing it on a wimpy smartphone, you can harness the power of a beefy server located in a data center.

But what kind of server matters a whole heck of a lot when it comes to graphical fidelity and keeping the service affordable, given how many players may need their own servers — and it turns out that Google’s just-announced Stadia cloud gaming service may have struck a balance between power and price by partnering with AMD for a new custom piece of silicon.

According to Google, each Stadia server will contain a custom x86 AMD processor…

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Grab an extra discount on the our store’s best sellers

See the original posting on Boing Boing

It’s spring clearance time for the Boing Boing Store, when some of the best deals from the holidays return even cheaper than before. From top-rated apps to educational software to the cutest record player of all time, they’re all back with a little extra incentive. Shop your heart out before tax season wraps up! Use the code MADNESS15 to take an additional 15% off!

TREBLAB Z2 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Combine 40mm neodymium-backed speakers with T-Quiet™ noise-cancelling tech and you get a seriously immersive pair of headphones. Even better, they come with 35-hour battery life, so you can soundtrack even the longest bus trip or workout. The TREBLAB Z2 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones are already sale priced at $78.99 (down from their previous price of $149.99) but you can take an extra 15% off with the online code MADNESS15.

Pianoforall: The New Way To Learn Piano & Keyboard

Designed to teach keyboards to even the most distractible, Pianoforall will have you playing rhythm piano hits from Billy Joel and Norah Jones in the first few lessons. And while you’re doing that, you’ll be learning the music theory fundamentals that will let you play chords, inversions and more in the lessons to come. Previously priced at $29.99 (down from $199.99), Pianoforall is now $10.99 – and you can take an additional 15% off with the online code MADNESS15.

CBD Gummies 500mg

A great way to see what the CBD craze is about, these tart gummies are infused with US-grown hemp isolate. The cannabidiol contained within can help with a range of issues including pain, sleep deprivation, and general stress. Read the rest “Grab an extra discount on the our store’s best sellers”

6-pack of supposedly MFi certified Lightning charging cables for cheap

See the original posting on Boing Boing

I just ordered this 6-pack of Lightning charging cables for a very low price using promo code VW2PVZLM. You get 3-foot, 6-foot, and 10-foot cables (2 of each). The reviews are very positive (though it’s always hard to tell how many are shills). I’m not sure how they can be MFi certified at this price, but its worth buying to find out. Read the rest “6-pack of supposedly MFi certified Lightning charging cables for cheap”

Jenkins tries to reinvent itself as cloud-native for Kubernetes

See the original posting on JavaWorld

The popular but troubled Jenkins CI/CD system is being reworked to support cloud-native applications on the Kubernetes container-orchestration platform. The Jenkins X project is a response to user concerns that Jenkins had lost its luster and had developed configuration and stability issues.

Jenkins X is intended for Kubernetes users who want to adopt CI/CD or who want CI/CD and are moving to the cloud, without necessarily knowing anything about Kubernetes. Jenkins X builds on Jenkins with open source tools, promoting a Git branching and a repository model. A Jenkins distribution is used as the core CI/CD engine.

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Apple might update the iPod touch tomorrow

See the original posting on The Verge

Apple has already announced a few product refreshes this week, but it might not be done just yet. The iPod touch may be the next device to get a hardware update, and according to MacRumors, the seventh-generation model may be announced tomorrow via a press release, as Apple did with the low-profile announcements of the new iPad Air, iPad mini, and today’s iMac.

A new iPod touch hitting soon seems plausible, as it has been name-dropped by Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a good record for predicting Apple launches. MacRumors also notes that developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered references to what could be a refreshed iPod touch in iOS 12.2 code.

Aside from that, an iPod touch upgrade makes sense because it’s among the oldest devices…

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Here is Google’s controller for its Stadia game-streaming service

See the original posting on The Verge

Earlier this month, a patent surfaced that revealed a possible design for a forthcoming Google game controller. Now that Google has officially unveiled its long-expected cloud gaming service, called Stadia, we can finally get a look at what the gamepad actually looks like and how it works.

And it looks, well, much like a DualShock controller, with a pair of twin sticks, a D-pad, and plenty of face and shoulder buttons. One distinguishing feature, aside from the crisp black-or-white color scheme, is the home button featuring the new Stadia logo. It also sports a sharing button and a Google Assistant button, letting you use the controller’s built-in mic to talk to Assistant for accessing in-game hints if you get stuck. It’s called, quite…

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Google scores a custom AMD GPU to power its Stadia cloud gaming hardware

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Google’s new Stadia game streaming service may be great for people who don’t own a powerful PC or console, but those games have to run somewhere — specifically, in a Google datacenter. And the hardware they run on will be largely powered by a custom graphics card from AMD that, on paper at least, puts the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X to shame.

Google Announces Stadia: A Game Streaming Service

See the original posting on Anandtech

Today at GDC, Google announced its new video game streaming service. The new service will be called Stadia. This builds on the information earlier this year that AMD was powering Project Stream (as was then called) with Radeon Pro GPUs, and Google is a primary partner using AMD’s next generation CPUs and GPUs.

Stadia is being advertised as the central community for gamers, creators, and developers. The idea is that people can play a wide array of games regardless of the hardware at hand. Back in October, Google debuted the technology showcasing a top-end AAA gaming title running at 60 FPS. Google wants a single place where gamers and YouTube creators can get together – no current gaming platform, according to Google, does this.

Ultimately Google wants to stream straight to the Google browser. Google worked with leading publishers and developers to help build the system infrastructure. Google is one of a few companies with enough content delivery networks around the world to ensure that frame rates are kept high with super low latency.

Users will be able to watch a video about a game, and instantly hit ‘Play Now’ and start playing the game in under five seconds without any download and lag. The idea is that a single code base can be enjoyed at any stream. At launch, desktop, laptop, TV, tablets, and phones will be supported. With Stadia, the datacenter is platform. No hardware acceleration is required on the device. The experience can be transferred between devices, such as chromebook to smartphone.

One of the highlights of Google’s demonstration of Stadia was the platform working on Google-enabled TVs.

The platform allows users to have any USB connected controller, or mouse and keyboard. Google will also be releasing its own Stadia Controller, available in three colors – white, black, and light blue. The controller connects via Wi-Fi straight into the cloud, and also which device is being run (it’s unclear how this works).

The controller has two new buttons. The first allows saving and sharing the experience out to YouTube. The second is Google Assistant, using the integrated microphone in the controller. This allows game developers to integrate Google Assistant into their games. It also allows users to ask Google when they need help in a game – and the assistant will look for a guide to help.

Stadia uses the same datacenter infrastructure already in place at Google. There are 7500+ edge nodes allows for compute resources being closer to players for lower latency. Custom designed, purpose built hardware powers the experience. Interconnected racks have sufficient compute and memory for the most demanding games. The technology has been in development inside Google for years.

At launch, resolutions will be supported up to 4K 60 fps with HDR and surround sound. Future  plans for up to 8K streaming at 120 fps are planned. The platform has been built to scale to support this. While playing, the stream is duplicated in 4K for direct upload – you get rendering quality video rather than what you capture locally.

The platform is instance based, so Google can scale when needed. Game developers no longer have to worry about building to a specific hardware performance – the datacenter can scale as required.

Custom GPU with AMD, with 10 TF of power, with a custom CPU with AVX2 support. Combined they create a single instance per person. Uses Linux and Vulkan, with full Unreal and Unity support. Havok engine support as well. Tool companies are onboard.

(When Google says custom CPU and custom GPU – this could be early hardware of AMD’s upcoming generations of technology, put into a custom core configuration / TDP. We’re likely looking at a Zen 2 based CPU, based on AVX2 support listed, and a Radeon Instinct based GPU with tweaked settings specifically for Google.)

One of the first games supported will be Doom Eternal from id Software, which will support 4K with HDR at 60 fps. Every user will get a single GPU with no other users.

UL Benchmarks (3DMark) has been working with Google to help benchmark the systems and measure the power of the infrastructure. Developers if required can use multiple GPUs, it appears.

Multiplayer is also supported, at least between different Stadia players. Distributed physics becomes possible, which means up to 1000 players in Battle Royale titles. There’s also the advantage, according to Google, of getting around hackers and cheaters.

Developers can support multi-platform multiplayer, and transfer save files between platforms. Game developers have already been working on MP demos with destructive environments using real-time rigid body physics, allowing for perfect synchronization.

Google also points out that split-screen gaming has not been a priority recently because of rendering two scenes at once. With Stadia, that problem disappears, as each player will be powered by a separate instance, reviving the idea of local co-op and squad based gaming. This also allows for multiple cameras for a single player to navigate a single map, for better tactics in certain types of games. Google says that this ability allows developers to create new types of games.