ROADMAP 2017

2017 is now more clear with roadmaps for PC gaming.

A few VR games have made a splash but not many can afford the $600++ for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset etc etc. Mainstream VR is still a few years off.

AMD RAVEN RIDGE

AMD Bristol Ridge will be the first wave from AMD. Summit Ridge will be the first Zen CPU which will be launched early in 2017. Raven Ridge is further down the roast in 2017.

AMD with be bringing Zen to the market which will join with Intel as the industry finally moves away from DDR3 and into DDR4. AMD will also move to PCI Express 3.0 primarily to provide more bandwidth for M.2 SSD slots and other devices.

AMD will provide 4 memory slots which is more than enough. DDR4 sticks are 16GB are now widely available. Intel also supports 4 memory sticks. In time, 32GB memory sticks will come to gaming platforms.

The second generation of 14nm video cards will likely see more extremes from AMD and NVIDIA as both compete in the market. Integrated graphics have improved enough to make low end cards obsolete.

AMD Navi and NVIDIA Volta should be on the market towards the fall of 2018 as the video card makers refresh their product lines with the second wave of 14nm hardware..

AMD GREY HAWK

AMD Grey Hawk is under development and its not expected to be seen until maybe 2019. Indications for a quad core processor for low cost machines. Given that Grey Hawk is two years further away, it could even feature AMD Navi architecture based graphics. Grey Hawk APUs at 10W TDP are expected.

POWER SUPPLIES

ATX power supplies have continued to become better. For example, the Corsair CS series are 80 PLUS gold which them very cool in operation and they pay for themselves very quickly. High-end 80 PLUS titanium power supplies will eventually come down in price. Power supplies are not usually replaced until they fail and that may take more than a decade.

STORAGE

Seagate and WDC are both ramping up extreme capacity disks. Now it’s possible to have a Seagate 10TB for the boot disk of desired. Shingled hard disks are much too exotic for consumers, they are more suited to corporate datacenters who can cope with the drawbacks.

Intel is also readying Optane along with the Z270 chipset which will be launched along with the Kaby Lake processors. Optane is new in the consumer market so it may be some time before it matures enough for mainstream use. Kaby lake offers are few more PCI Express lanes. Optane 8000p will launch with M.2 16GB and 32GB sizes which will pressure the desire for 2 or more M.2 slots.

With both AMD and Intel using PCI Express 3.0, the growth in M.2 SSD products seems to be assured. M.2 can reach 2GB/s in bandwidth with Samsung’s Pro 960 SSD.

The industry is continuing to move towards smaller form factor platform for the low cost markets. Gaming motherboards are still readily available in µATX and ATX formats. Motherboards with x8 and x8 configuration are widely available for dual video card rigs.

USB 3.0 & 3.1

USB 3.0 uses a type A connector that is backwards compatible so we expect to see USB 2.0 ports to disappear quickly. USB type C ports use a different smaller reversible connector which means machines will need to have type A and type C ports.

GAMES

EA has indicted no new Battlefield game until maybe 2018. Instead they are developing a new Star Wars: Battlefront edition.

  • Dawn of War 3

WINDOWS 10 CREATORS UPDATE

WIndows 10 Creators update is expected sometime in the Spring 2017 likely early in Q2.

  • WDDM 2.2
  • DDI/API for VR/AR/MR for Windows Holographic
  • DX12 updated
  • HDR/WCG Display, Media and Graphics
  • Driver Delivery: Reduced variation gaming drivers
  • Security: ACG/GPU virtualization (staging)

In 2017 Microsoft wants to push the Microsoft Store heavily, alongside their Xbox Play Anywhere Program on PC, releasing more games and a wide range of accessories that are designed to function on both Xbox One and PC using their low latency “Xbox Wireless” connection standard.

The Windows 10 Store games will have a “minimum GPU driver” associated with it and will automatically install the game’s minimum GPU driver if the user does not already us it or a newer driver iteration.  Microsoft is aware of driver problems which is why the updates to WDDM are included.

The Windows 10 creators update will also include native support for Windows 10 to Beam, a streaming service that was recently acquired by Microsoft.   Beam will also allow your viewers to play with you using the streaming service’s interactivity platform.

Driver problems will have to be addressed. Part of the problem is decades of proprietary development for AMD and NVIDIA cards have fragmented the market badly.