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Computing

Nvidia’s RTX 4000 get new specs, and it’s not all good news

Nvidia’s upcoming Ada Lovelace graphics cards just received a new set of rumored specifications, and this time around, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

While the news is good for one of the GPUs, the RTX 4070 actually received a cut when it comes to its specs — but the leaker says this won’t translate to a cheaper price.

And TBP, 450/420?/300W.

— kopite7kimi (@kopite7kimi) June 23, 2022

The information comes from kopite7kimi, a well-recognized name when it comes to PC hardware leaks, who has just revealed an update to the specifications of the RTX 4090, RTX 4080, and the RTX 4070. While we’ve already heard previous whispers about the specs of the RTX 4090 and the RTX 4070, this is the first time we’re getting predictions about the specs of the RTX 4080.

Let’s start with the good news. If this rumor is true, the flagship RTX 4090 seems to have received a slight bump in the core count. The previously reported number was 16,128 CUDA cores, and this has now gone up to 16,384 cores, which translates to an upgrade from 126 streaming multiprocessors (SMs) to 128. As for the rest of the specs, they remain unchanged — the current expectation is that the GPU will get 24GB of GDDR6X memory across a 384-bit memory bus, as well as 21Gbps bandwidth.

The RTX 4090 includes the AD102 GPU, which maxes out at 144 SMs, but it seems unlikely that the RTX 4090 itself will ever reach such heights. The full version of the AD102 GPU is probably going to be found in an even better graphics card, be it a Titan or simply an RTX 4090 Ti. It’s also rumored to have monstrous power requirements. This time around, kopite7kimi didn’t reveal anything new about that card, and as of now, we still don’t know for a fact that it even exists.

Moving on to the RTX 4080 with the AD103 GPU, it’s said to come with 10,240 CUDA cores and 16GB of memory. However, according to kopite7kimi, it would rely on GDDR6 memory as opposed to GDDR6X. Seeing as the leaker predicts it to be 18Gbps, that would actually make it slower than the RTX 3080 with its 19Gbps memory. The core count is exactly the same as in the RTX 3080 Ti. So far, this GPU doesn’t sound very impressive, but it’s said to come with a much larger L2 cache that could potentially offer an upgrade in its gaming performance versus its predecessors.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

When it comes to the RTX 4070, the GPU was previously rumored to come with 12GB of memory, but now, kopite7kimi predicts just 10GB across a 160-bit memory bus. It’s said to offer 7,168 CUDA cores. While it’s certainly an upgrade over the RTX 3070, it might not quite be the generational leap some users are hoping for. It’s also supposedly not going to receive a price discount based on the reduction in specs, but we still don’t know the MSRP of this GPU, so it’s hard to judge its value.

Lastly, the leaker delivered an update on the power requirements of the GPUs, which have certainly been the subject of much speculation over the last few months. The predicted TBP for the RTX 4090 is 450 watts. It’s 420 watts for the RTX 4080 and 300 watts for the RTX 4070. Those numbers are a lot more conservative than the 600 watts (and above) that we’ve seen floating around.

What does all of this mean for us — the end-users of the upcoming RTX 40-series GPUs? Not too much just yet. The specifications may yet change, and although kopite7kimi has a proven track record, they could be wrong about the specs, too. However, as things stand now, only the RTX 4090 seems to mark a huge upgrade over its predecessor while the other two are a much more modest change. It remains to be seen whether the pricing will reflect that or not.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Microsoft could finally kill HDD boot drives for good

Microsoft could have plans to scrap its use of hard disk drives (HDD) among its main storage components on PCs running Windows 11, according to a recent report by industry analyst firm Trendfocus, as reported by Tom’s Hardware.

If Microsoft goes through with its plans, consumers could begin to see solid-state hard drives (SSD) instead, with the exception of dual-drive desktop PCs and gaming laptops, which require multiple types of storage, as Tom’s Hardware noted.

While Microsoft has declined to comment on the matter, the current trends indicate a complete market transition to SSD by 2023. Many PC makers already use SSD as their main storage option; however, it is still not a set standard, especially in emerging markets.

Trendforce claims Microsoft is internally pushing for the switch to SSD as the main storage standard for Windows 11 PCs; however, the brand has not implemented any requirements for computer or laptop makers to follow.

Tom’s Hardware noted that Windows 11 requires PCs to have at least 64GB of storage for installation but does not specify a type of hard drive. The operating system has, of course, been available since last October to both HDD and SSD devices.

However, the publication wonders if Microsoft requiring Windows 11 PCs to have SSDs in 2023 will lead to a list of minimum specifications for computers as a whole, and furthermore, whether device makers would be penalized for not following the list.

Overall, analysts note that Microsoft’s moves are financially driven, with SSDs costing more per unit than HDDs. With the pandemic boom of PCs dwindling and the price of computer components increasing due to inflation. Manufacturers remain uncertain about how they will be affected by global standings, in addition to business.

Trendfocus Vice President John Chen told Tom’s Hardware that 2023 is still not a hard date for the transition to SSD. Some suggestions considered in talks with Microsoft include holding off the transition of emerging markets until 2024 or pausing the desktop switch until that time.

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AI

DeepMind says its new AI coding engine is as good as an average human programmer

DeepMind has created an AI system named AlphaCode that it says “writes computer programs at a competitive level.” The Alphabet subsidiary tested its system against coding challenges used in human competitions and found that its program achieved an “estimated rank” placing it within the top 54 percent of human coders. The result is a significant step forward for autonomous coding, says DeepMind, though AlphaCode’s skills are not necessarily representative of the sort of programming tasks faced by the average coder.

Oriol Vinyals, principal research scientist at DeepMind, told The Verge over email that the research was still in the early stages but that the results brought the company closer to creating a flexible problem-solving AI — a program that can autonomously tackle coding challenges that are currently the domain of humans only. “In the longer-term, we’re excited by [AlphaCode’s] potential for helping programmers and non-programmers write code, improving productivity or creating new ways of making software,” said Vinyals.

AlphaCode was tested against challenges curated by Codeforces, a competitive coding platform that shares weekly problems and issues rankings for coders similar to the Elo rating system used in chess. These challenges are different from the sort of tasks a coder might face while making, say, a commercial app. They’re more self-contained and require a wider knowledge of both algorithms and theoretical concepts in computer science. Think of them as very specialized puzzles that combine logic, maths, and coding expertise.

In one example challenge that AlphaCode was tested on, competitors are asked to find a way to convert one string of random, repeated s and t letters into another string of the same letters using a limited set of inputs. Competitors cannot, for example, just type new letters but instead have to use a “backspace” command that deletes several letters in the original string. You can read a full description of the challenge below:

An example challenge titled “Backspace” that was used to evaluate DeepMind’s program. The problem is of medium difficulty, with the left side showing the problem description, and the right side showing example test cases.
Image: DeepMind / Codeforces

Ten of these challenges were fed into AlphaCode in exactly the same format they’re given to humans. AlphaCode then generated a larger number of possible answers and winnowed these down by running the code and checking the output just as a human competitor might. “The whole process is automatic, without human selection of the best samples,” Yujia Li and David Choi, co-leads of the AlphaCode paper, told The Verge over email.

AlphaCode was tested on 10 of challenges that had been tackled by 5,000 users on the Codeforces site. On average, it ranked within the top 54.3 percent of responses, and DeepMind estimates that this gives the system a Codeforces Elo of 1238, which places it within the top 28 percent of users who have competed on the site in the last six months.

“I can safely say the results of AlphaCode exceeded my expectations,” Codeforces founder Mike Mirzayanov said in a statement shared by DeepMind. “I was sceptical [sic] because even in simple competitive problems it is often required not only to implement the algorithm, but also (and this is the most difficult part) to invent it. AlphaCode managed to perform at the level of a promising new competitor.”

An example interface of AlphaCode tackling a coding challenge. The input is given as it is to humans on the left and the output generated on the right.
Image: DeepMind

DeepMind notes that AlphaCode’s current skill set is only currently applicable within the domain of competitive programming but that its abilities open the door to creating future tools that make programming more accessible and one day fully automated.

Many other companies are working on similar applications. For example, Microsoft and the AI lab OpenAI have adapted the latter’s language-generating program GPT-3 to function as an autocomplete program that finishes strings of code. (Like GPT-3, AlphaCode is also based on an AI architecture known as a transformer, which is particularly adept at parsing sequential text, both natural language and code). For the end user, these systems work just like Gmails’ Smart Compose feature — suggesting ways to finish whatever you’re writing.

A lot of progress has been made developing AI coding systems in recent years, but these systems are far from ready to just take over the work of human programmers. The code they produce is often buggy, and because the systems are usually trained on libraries of public code, they sometimes reproduce material that is copyrighted.

In one study of an AI programming tool named Copilot developed by code repository GitHub, researchers found that around 40 percent of its output contained security vulnerabilities. Security analysts have even suggested that bad actors could intentionally write and share code with hidden backdoors online, which then might be used to train AI programs that would insert these errors into future programs.

Challenges like these mean that AI coding systems will likely be integrated slowly into the work of programmers — starting as assistants whose suggestions are treated with suspicion before they are trusted to carry out work on their own. In other words: they have an apprenticeship to carry out. But so far, these programs are learning fast.

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Computing

Notorious ransomware gang Conti shuts down, but not for good

The ransomware group known as Conti has officially shut down, with all of its infrastructures now offline.

Although this might seem like good news, it’s only good on the surface — Conti is not over, it has simply split into smaller operations.

Advanced Intel

Conti was launched in the summer of 2020 as a successor to the Ryuk ransomware. It relied on partnerships with other malware infections in order to distribute. Malware such as TrickBot and BazarLoader was the initial point of entry for Conti, which then proceeded with the attack. Conti proved to be so successful that it eventually evolved into a cybercrime syndicate that took over TrickBot, BazarLoader, and Emotet.

During the past two years, Conti carried out a number of high-profile attacks, targeting the City of Tulsa, Advantech, and Broward County Public Schools. Conti also held the IT systems of Ireland’s Health Service Executive and Department of Health ransom for weeks and only let go when they were facing serious trouble from law enforcement around the world. However, this attack gave Conti a lot of attention from the global media.

Most recently, it targeted the country of Costa Rica, but according to Yelisey Bogslavskiy of Advanced Intel, the attack was just a cover-up for the fact that Conti was disbanding the whole operation. Boguslavskiy told Bleeping Computer that the attack on Costa Rica was made so public in order to give the members of Conti time to migrate to different ransomware operations.

“The agenda to conduct the attack on Costa Rica for the purpose of publicity instead of ransom was declared internally by the Conti leadership. Internal communications between group members suggested that the requested ransom payment was far below $1 million (despite unverified claims of the ransom being $10 million, followed by Conti’s own claims that the sum was $20 million),” says a yet-to-be-published report from Advanced Intel, shared ahead of time by Bleeping Computer.

Conti ransomware group logo.
BleepingComputer

The ultimate end to Conti was brought on by the group’s open approval of Russia and its invasion of Ukraine. On official channels, Conti went as far as to say that it will pool all of its resources into defending Russia from possible cyberattacks. Following that, a Ukrainian security researcher leaked over 170,000 internal chat messages between the members of the Conti group, and ultimately also leaked the source code for the gang’s ransomware encryptor. This encryptor was later used to attack Russian entities.

As things stand now, all of Conti’s infrastructure has been taken offline, and the leaders of the group said that the brand is over. However, this doesn’t mean that Conti members will no longer pursue cybercrime. According to Boguslavskiy, the leadership of Conti decided to split up and team up with smaller ransomware gangs, such as AvosLocker, HelloKitty, Hive, BlackCat, and BlackByte.

Members of the previous Conti ransomware gang, including intel analysts, pentesters, devs, and negotiators, are spread throughout various cybercrime operations, but they are still part of the Conti syndicate and fall under the same leadership. This helps them avoid law enforcement while still carrying out the same cyberattacks as they did under the Conti brand.

Conti was considered one of the most expensive and dangerous types of ransomware ever created, with over $150 million of ransom payments collected during its two-year stint. The U.S. government offers a substantial reward of up to $15 million for help in identifying the individuals involved with Conti, especially those in leadership roles.

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Computing

Nvidia Finally Has Good News on the GPU Shortage in 2022

The current graphics card shortage has made it tough to be a PC gamer. However, Nvidia thinks there is a light at the end of the shortage tunnel. The company expects supplies to improve by the middle of 2022.

Nvidia Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress explained at the UBS Global TMT conference that the company has been successful in increasing GPU supplies during the shortage, according to PCMag. Specifically, Nvidia spent billions to shore up long-term agreements with various manufacturers. This due diligence should lead to more supplies to make graphics cards, thus decreasing the overall shortage.

Nvidia wants to wait until there is a “reasonable amount of supply” to lower prices.

“The company as a whole will take the appropriate work to continue to procure more supply,” Kress said. “We’ve been able to grow quite well during this year, each quarter, sequentially growing. And we do continue to plan to do that for Q4.”

Kress didn’t say exactly which manufacturers Nvidia made deals with, but Samsung is a likely one due to Nvidia’s Ampere architecture being built on its 8mn process nodes. Cress did point out that long-term deals take a while to have an impact. While the company would love to lower the prices, she said Nvidia wants to wait until there is a “reasonable amount of supply” to do that.

Time will tell if Nvidia is able to truly alleviate supply issues next year. Even Nvidia’s own CEO, Jensen Huang, believes that shortages will continue through next year. That said, Huang has extolled his company’s ability to source supplies from multiple vendors, combined with its ability to scale.

Outside of savvy partnerships with fabs, Nvidia is also trying to push the U.S. government for policy actions. Nvidia, along with other tech companies, are asking the Biden administration to exclude graphics cards from the former Trump administration’s tariffs on imports from China. The tariffs on semiconductors and printed circuit boards (PCBs) have at least partially contributed to the sky-high prices of graphics cards.

One of the ongoing problems with the shortage is with scalpers and cryptominers. About 25% of all GPUs sold during the first half of 2021 went to miners. Even if Nvidia manages to increase its supply, that doesn’t guarantee that scalpers and miners won’t scoop up the extra supply. Nvidia’s next-gen “Lovelace” graphics cards look to possess insane power, but it won’t matter if they’re just as scarce as the current-gen Ampere cards.

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Game

First Playdate shipments delayed, but for a good reason

It seems that the hardware delays just keep on coming. In a week where we’ve learned that Valve’s Steam Deck has been delayed and that Sony possibly had to cut PS5 production estimates because of the global parts shortage, we’re now learning that the initial orders for Panic’s Playdate handheld have also been delayed. There is a silver lining to this one, though, so at least in the end, it isn’t all bad news.

Playdate’s delay has a good reason behind it

In an email sent out to customers who purchased the initial batch of Playdate handhelds (which can be read in full over on Playdate’s website), Panic explains that the first and second groups of Playdate shipments have been pushed back from late 2021 to early 2022. Unfortunately, those two groups comprise orders for the first 20,000 units, so this is a pretty significant delay.

What happened? If your first guess was the global silicon shortage, you’d actually be wrong for the first time in months. In the email, Panic explains that the first batch of 5,000 handhelds it received from the manufacturer had defective batteries that didn’t last as long as the company expected them to.

Panic then sent the bad units back to the manufacturer to receive new batteries from a new supplier. The company says that the new batteries are “exactly what we’re hoping for, if not even better than before,” and that they’ll deliver on the long battery life that was originally promised to buyers. So, even though initial Playdate shipments were delayed, at least Panic didn’t wind up sending handhelds with bad batteries to consumers.

Playdate still isn’t immune from supply shortages

While this particular delay isn’t necessarily down to global supply shortages, the Playdate is not immune to those either. In another section of that lengthy email, Panic explains that while it was able to secure components for these early production runs, some of the parts needed for Playdates produced in 2022 and beyond were subject to significant delays.

The CPU, in particular, was a significant pain point, as Panic notes that it wouldn’t have been able to receive more CPUs for a further two years beyond these initial production runs. With that in mind, Panic says that it has finished a revision of Playdate’s mainboard that features a new, more easily obtainable CPU. So, while it still expects to fulfill 50,000 Playdate orders by late 2022, the company says that any orders beyond those will likely land in 2023.

The company also announced today that a public beta of its browser-based Pulp game development tools should be available in January 2022, while the full Playdate SDK will be available in February of that same year. Once those are out in the open, users will be able to craft their own games for Playdate, which is intended to be an open platform. So, while Playdate has hit a few snags, there was also some good news in today’s message to customers. We’ll let you know when Panic starts shipping out Playdates to early purchasers, so stay tuned for more.

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Game

Latest New World update has good news for broke players, bad news for gold sellers

Overnight, New World received its weekly update, and there were some big changes contained in this one. While we received the usual round of bug fixes, Amazon also implemented some changes concerning the gold cost of attribute respecs and the Azoth cost of weapon skill tree respecs, meaning that players should be able to change their builds much more frequently. In addition, Amazon detailed some measures it’s implementing to combat all of the gold sellers players have undoubtedly seen in chat.

New World update 1.0.5 changes

In its patch notes for update 1.0.5, Amazon dove right into a hot button topic among the New World player base: coin sellers. It seems that no matter the MMO, there will always be accounts looking to sell currency, and in New World it’s not any different. Amazon starts off by saying that it has banned and suspended many of the gold-selling accounts that players have been reporting.

The company will now also require that new accounts hit player level 10 before they can participate in player-to-player trades or make currency transfers. Accounts will also have to be older than 72 hours to do both of those things. In addition, Amazon has moved some gold rewards from early main story quests to later quests to avoid giving sellers an early way to grind out gold, and the Trading Post will no longer be accessible before new players accept the “Introduction to the Trading Post” quest.

While we wait to see if those changes have any noticeable effect on the number of gold sellers spamming the chat, this week’s patch also fixed a number of issues. First up is a fix for an item duplication bug that affected storage sheds and crafting stations, along with a fix for the gold duplication bug that sprouted up after Amazon disabled wealth transfers earlier this week.

In a rather huge change, Amazon announced that it has reduced attribute respec costs by 60%, while the Azoth cost for weapon respecs has been decreased by 75%. This is exciting news for players who like to switch builds frequently or, like the author of this article, can’t seem to decide on a weapon combo and stick with it for any length of time. The coin cost of chisels has also been reduced by up to 50%, though that depends on the tier. Sadly, players can no longer equip two of the same type weapon, so if you want to put both weapons slots to use, you’ll have to pick two distinct weapon types for them.

Amazon has also fixed issues affecting spell strike consistency, the resilient item perk (which reduced all damage instead of just critical hit damage), and group scaling passives for the Great Axe, Hatchet, and Warhammer. We’re also getting a number of fixes for Outpost Rush and a slate of general bug fixes, which you can read about over in the full patch notes.

Amazon talks present and future changes for New World

In addition to sending this patch live, Amazon also published a lengthy developer blog post in which it discussed many features, covered this recent patch, and talked about future changes that are on the way. The blog post can be found on the New World forums and is worth reading from beginning to end for anyone currently playing, but there are some things that stick out to us.

First, Amazon’s blog post includes a lengthy section on the economy and gold deflation, which has been a big concern for players. In short, Amazon says that the economy is “performing within acceptable levels,” but does acknowledge that the gold generated at level 60 – New World‘s level cap – does become more “narrow” than it is at earlier levels. Amazon says that the recent fix for tier IV and V Azoth Staffs and the reintroduction of Outpost Rush should help late-game players earn more gold, as those were intended to be end-game gold grinds.

Amazon also revealed a whopper of a change by confirming that all Trading Posts in the world will be linked, meaning you can buy any product from any Trading Post. Transaction taxes from the settlement you’re buying from will still apply, and expired items will be returned to the settlement where they were listed. This is a big change, and it should normalize prices while ensuring that you don’t need to travel to a central settlement just to buy things. In addition, Amazon will also be ramping up the coins gained from Expedition bosses, so expect more gold from your Expedition runs.

There’s a lot more contained within New World‘s latest dev blog, but these are among the biggest changes. Some of these changes are already in the game as of the most recent patch, while others will be coming with the month’s major release later on in November.

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Game

Meta is axing Oculus, but there’s good news too

Earlier today, Facebook revealed that it’s changing its name. Facebook, the corporation, will now be known as Meta. While Meta will continue to offer separate brands like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the company will no longer share its name with its most popular app offering. As it turns out, this restructuring isn’t just changing things at the corporate level, as Meta will also be retiring the Oculus brand.

Oculus, of course, is one of the biggest names in virtual reality, so this is a big move by Meta. In a post to his Facebook account today, Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s VP of AR/VR, revealed that the Oculus brand is going away, saying Meta wants to ensure that Quest is seen as a Meta product, which means unified branding.

“For this reason, we’re simplifying our brand architecture and shifting away from the Oculus brand,” Bosworth wrote. “Starting in early 2022, you’ll start to see the shift from Oculus Quest from Facebook to Meta Quest and Oculus App to Meta Quest App over time. We all have a strong attachment to the Oculus brand, and this was a difficult decision to make. While we’re retiring the name, I can assure that the original Oculus vision remains deeply embedded in how Meta will continue to drive mass adoption for VR today.”

Bosworth also made a more exciting announcement in his Facebook post, revealing that Meta will be removing the requirement to link Oculus headsets with Facebook accounts. Facebook started requiring that users link their headsets with a Facebook account with the Quest 2, and it was a decision that did not go over well with the Oculus faithful.

“As we’ve focused more on work, and as we’ve heard feedback from the VR community more broadly, we’re working on new ways to log into Quest that won’t require a Facebook account, landing sometime next year,” Bosworth added. “This is one of our highest priority areas of work internally.”

So, the Oculus brand will be going away, and while we’re guessing that some out there have mixed feelings about that change, there’s little doubt that the decision to stop forcing Facebook logins on Oculus hardware will be a welcomed one indeed. We’ll let you know when these changes begin showing up in the real world, so stay tuned for more.

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Game

Why The M1 Max MacBook Pro Still Isn’t a Good Gaming Laptop

Apple announced the new M1 Max chip at its Apple Unleashed event on October 18. The updated system on a chip (SoC) features some big improvements — the most impressive of which is a staggering 32 GPU cores. That’s four times as many as the Apple M1, the notion of which pushed my rotted PC gamer brain to one place: Portable MacBook gaming.

With a much higher core count, the M1 Max MacBook Pro should offer a big boost to gaming performance compared to the M1. That doesn’t mean the MacBook Pro is a gaming laptop, though. It was never designed that way, and a lacking library of Mac titles means that most games won’t be able to take advantage of the extra horsepower.

32 graphics cores

Thirty-two graphics cores. That’s why the M1 Max is so impressive. It’s a much more powerful chip than the M1 overall, sporting a balance of performant and efficient cores that leans heavier on the performant side of things. But when Apple announced the M1 Max, I wanted to know how I could put four times as many GPU cores to work.

Unsurprisingly, Apple didn’t talk about gaming, but we still have some reference points for what 32 GPU cores could offer. With eight cores on the M1 MacBook Pro, we were able to hit above 60 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at Medium settings. With four times as many cores, plus 64GB of unified memory, you could probably push the frame rate and settings much higher.

The most concrete information we have right now is a comparison to AMD’s 5600M. Apple says the M1 Pro with 16 GPU cores offers 2.5x the performance, while the M1 Max with 32 cores offers x the performance. In 3DMark Time Spy, machines with a 5600M average a combined score of 6,027, taking into account CPU and GPU performance.

Unfortunately, 3DMark isn’t available on Mac, but four times as many cores doesn’t mean four times the performance. However, if the M1 Max could double the result of the 5600M, it would be on the level of a mobile RTX 3070 discrete GPU. That’s really impressive.

It’s possible, too. YouTuber Dave2D estimated the 16-core M1 Pro could be on the level of AMD’s 5500M that’s in MacBook Pros now, while saying the M1 Max could reach frame rates similar to a mobile RTX 3070. Even if that’s too high, there’s no doubting that the M1 Max will offer a huge boost to the already respectable gaming performance on the M1.

Add in the 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate, and you have the makings of a decent gaming laptop. With 32 GPU cores on tap, you could run some demanding games with high frame rates. That’s the main problem with a gaming MacBook Pro, though — the games.

A lot of power and nowhere to use it

MacOS Steam.
Just a few on the many Steam games you can’t play on Mac.

Our list of the best Mac games has some fantastic options. Disco Elysium is one of the best RPGs of the decade, Hades is a breakout roguelike that’s damned addicting, and Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world for a reason. Still, the library of Mac games is small, and new releases seldom show up on Apple devices.

Gaming is clearly important to Apple. Just look at Apple Arcade, which not only features a stellar roster of games, but also exclusives like the excellent Grindstone. You get a very different view of Apple’s gaming prowess on Steam, though.

I scrolled through the first 10 pages of upcoming MacOS releases — 150 games in total — and didn’t recognize a single one. And I’m on Steam multiple times every day. For the most part, Macs get standout evergreen games like Stardew Valley and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — titles that a massive audience wants to play for years to come.

That’s where the M1 Max can most improve MacBook Pros when it comes to gaming. Titles like The Elder Scrolls Online and Fortnite are possible at respectable settings, resolutions, and frame rates. It’s clear Apple cares about gaming, but it cares more about casual, mobile-focused titles, not AAA blockbusters that can bring high-end gaming PCs to their knees.

Don’t buy a MacBook for gaming

Lifestyle image of someone using the new Macbook Pro 2021.

You shouldn’t buy a new MacBook Pro for gaming. You should get one of the best thin and light gaming laptops instead. The M1 Max will certainly boost gaming performance, and it could even rival discrete GPU options from AMD and Nvidia. But the lackluster library of Mac games means you’ll run out of games to play before you get your money’s worth.

The extra GPU cores and unified memory architecture are better for intensive creative workloads like 3D modeling and rendering. Adobe apps are available natively on M1 machines now, and with four times as many GPU cores available, you can expect accelerated rendering and workflow with the M1 Max. Apple has made come concrete claims here — four times the performance in DaVinci Resolve and eight times as fast rendering ProRes files.

This type of work is where the M1 Max should shine. Gaming is possible, and based on what we know now, the M1 Max should offer some competitive gaming performance. But the library of software just isn’t up to snuff. If you want the M1 Max MacBook Pro, buy it for creative work, not for gaming.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Twitch data breach update brings users good news

Earlier this month, Twitch suffered a major security breach in which many details about the website and its streamers were leaked to the internet. While it seems the extent of the breach is still being investigated, Twitch has provided an update about its findings so far, and it’s made a big confirmation for users who were worried that their personal information or login credentials were leaked.

In an update published to the Twitch blog earlier today, the company started by reiterating that the “incident was a result of a server configuration change that allowed improper access by an unauthorized third party.” Twitch says that the configuration issue has since been fixed and the company’s systems secured.

Twitch then went on to say that Twitch passwords haven’t been exposed, which is good news indeed. When news of the breach first broke, it was unclear if passwords had been revealed, but Twitch said early on that it had no indication that login credentials were compromised. Now it seems to have confirmation that at least passwords were left untouched.

“We are also confident that systems that store Twitch login credentials, which are hashed with bcrypt, were not accessed, nor were full credit card numbers or ACH / bank information,” Twitch added. “The exposed data primarily contained documents from Twitch’s source code repository, as well as a subset of creator payout data. We’ve undergone a thorough review of the information included in the files exposed and are confident that it only affected a small fraction of users and the customer impact is minimal. We are contacting those who have been impacted directly.”

So, even though the customer impact is minimal, Twitch’s statement on the matter suggests that there’s still some kind of impact. If you’re a regular Twitch user, it might be a good idea to keep an eye on your email to see if you’re one of the users Twitch is reaching out to directly.

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