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Ambarish Sengupta

F1 2020 fi

F1 2020 Review: A Great Balancing Act

It’s my first GP at the Zandvoort Circuit in F1 2020. While the practice and qualifying sessions were dry, it’s just started to rain and there’s no sign of the sun. Thankfully, I had set up my car with a heavy emphasis on downforce and invested quite a lot of starting capital into the Aero department. I opt for a two pit strategy starting with the intermediate tires for the first half and switch to the wets for the rest of the race. I finished P5 in qualifying and I’m right behind Max Verstappen, the young prodigy who feels very much at home on the track.

Five red lights, the race starts and right into the first corner at Tarzan, Albon hits Hamilton, who goes sideways and Bottas piles on. Unable to dodge the mess, Charles Leclerc veers off into the curbs and just like that, two of the top drivers of the grid are out of the race. Now my strategy is to push hard and go in for an early pit-stop. I change the fuel mix to rich and step on it. With 10 laps remaining, the sun starts to peek from the clouds. At this point, I’m in P4, ahead of Perez by around 30 seconds and decide to change to the soft tire compound on the next lap in hopes of getting a podium finish.

f1 2020 zandvort
Zandvoort Circuit looks awfylly picturesque

Moments after I get out of the pits, my engine loses power and I push hard enough. At this point in the race, my best bet is just holding my position. With 2 laps to go, Bottas and Albon make contact, Albon drifts on to the curb and hits the tire wall and Bottas has to go into the pits to repair his front wing. I start pushing and finish the race on P2! This was my first podium of the season. The new ‘My Career’ mode in F1 2020 has yielded many such moments for me. While the core gameplay is quite similar to the previous entry in the series, the new game mode does change things up quite a bit.

So how’s the Gameplay in F1 2020?

Quite similar to F1 2019. But there are some major improvements for controller players and there are quite a few tweaks to the AI. On a Thrustmaster T500RS, the FFB is decent, though not on par with games such as Automobilista 2 or Assetto Corsa Competizione. F1 2020 is a difficult game to review. There is enough complexity in the mechanics and a steep enough learning curve for it to be considered as a sim. However, you just turn the assists on, connect a controller and have some casual fun. I would not, however, call it a sim-cade like Forza 7 either. You can play it seriously, timing each gear shift and neailing every corner, or you can just let the game do it for you and joke around with your friends instead. It handles both situations gracefully.

Apart from the ‘My Team’ game mode, F1 2020 also includes Splitscreen. This is by far one of the best features of the game and I’m glad to see it making a return. The new ‘My Team’ game mode is a great addition and adds enough progression for it to feel fresh. In it, you enter F1 as the 11th team and start from scratch. After selecting your engine, a primary sponsor, and a secondary driver, you’re basically playing a game of catch-up with the rest of the teams. Every 8-11 weeks, you have an option to renew the secondary driver’s contract or negotiate a new one.

Every race weekend, you can earn resource points and acclaim by completing the practice programs. You can boost your acclaim by getting a good qualifying result or by finishing on the podium. Every once in a while, you’ll have interviews that you can use strategically to either boost one of your departments or your acclaim. Higher acclaim unlocks better sponsors. Better sponsors make you more money. With more money, you can upgrade any of your 5 departments. Upgrading a department unlocks R&D upgrades for your car while reducing build times and reducing failures.

The R&D tree is divided into 4 parts: Powertrain, Aerodynamics, Durability and Chassis. The research points gained over the race weekends can be spent here to further improve your car. It is quite important to focus your efforts into making sure your car gets the necessary updates before each weekend otherwise your team will lag behind the competition. And no amount of exceptional driving will be able to make up for an outdated power unit. You should also be careful not to spend too much on upgrades before the secondary driver contract expires and must have enough cash reserved so that you can get a lucrative contract deal.

Overall, the new career mode adds a ton of new RPG-like mechanics and you do indeed feel like a team principal managing your team while racing at the same time. The rest of the game is fairly similar to the former title, with updated teams and liveries. The new AI improvements are a welcome change and you’ll find the drivers defending their inside positions more frequently now. However, on certain tracks, they are just too overpowered and the top qualifying times are next to impossible to achieve. Still, they are a major improvement over its predecessor and are much less frustrating to drive against.

F1 2020 Customization

With the new game mode, you can choose and customize your car livery based on the sponsors you currently have. This adds a great new element of personalization and further increases your immersion. You also get access to a podium pass and unlock new suits, gloves, emotes, and car liveries every few levels. You can earn levels by playing any game mode and don’t feel forced to complete a particular objective to be able to unlock an item.

There is an optional VIP which gives you access to even more customization items that you can purchase with in-game currency, called pitcoins. Pitcoins can be gained through unlocking more levels on the podium pass or by real-world money. While the game does have microtransactions, they are purely cosmetic and the progression is quite fast such that you never feel forced to pay for them. Moreover, if you reach enough levels in the podium pass in a season, you can earn enough pitcoins to pay for the next VIP. I’d even go so far as to say that this is one of the best monetization models of this generation.

Conclusion

If you’re new to the series, this game is a must-buy for both F1 and non-F1 fans alike. While it’s a sim, you can have the same amount of precision and fun with a controller and the game does a pretty good job of teaching you the mechanics. In a sentence, it’s the most comprehensive F1 experience that you can have today. Codemasters have refined the series to a fine mix of excitement, challenge, and adventure. While there’s still a small way to go, F1 2020 is the strongest the franchise has ever been.

Intel i9 10850K Benchmarks Spotted on Geekbench: A cheaper 10 Core Comet Lake CPU

According to recent reports, Intel is going to release a new 10-Core Comet Lake processor, the i9 10850K. This is probably Intel’s answer to the upcoming AMD Ryzen 3750X and the 3850X processors. But how a 10 Core/20 Threads processor will compare to a 16 Core/32 Threads processor remains to be seen.

Intel’s other 10 Core processor, the i9 10900K released in April but isn’t extensively available due to their supply chain issues that date all the way back to 2017. It seems that there has always been a shortage of Intel’s 14nm processors. The rumored i9 10850K will help in negating these issues while offering a cheaper alternative to the 10900K. According to Geekbench, it will feature a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and boost up to 5.2 GHz, along with 20 MB of L3 cache. Compared to the i9 10900K, it’s around 100 MHz slower, both in base and boost clock speeds. Even the multi-core scores are slower by only 5%. Expect it to have the same power rating as the latter at 125W TDP.

Intel i910850K CPU benchmark
Source: Geekbench

While there’s no information as to if and when it will be available in retail, we can make some educated guesses. Firstly, since it is an unlocked processor (as can be determined from the ‘K’ moniker), we can expect it to not be a part of Apple’s upcoming iMac. Moreover, since it’s going to fill the gap between the i9 10900K and the i7 10700K, expect it to be priced around $400-$450, which is pretty good for a 10 Core processor. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Further Reading:

Source: Geekbench

SK Hynix HBM2E fi

SK Hynix starts mass production of HBM2E: The world’s fastest DRAM solution

A little over a year ago SK Hynix unveiled their HBM2E memory, boasting industry-leading bandwidth. Compared to current-gen, it features 50% more bandwidth and twice as much capacity. The new SK Hynix HBM2E standard supports >460GB per second with 1024 I/Os based on the 3.6 GBps speed performance per pin. To put things into perspective, it can 124 movies with a 1080p resolution, each of size 3.7GB per second. Or it can transfer two separate installations of Call of Duty: Warzone in a second. Your pick.

To achieve this technological marvel, SK Hynix utilizes the TSV (Through Silicon Via) technology by vertically stacking eight 16-gigabit chips to form a single dense package of 16GB. Using TSV, the upper and lower parts of the chip are connected through thousands of fine holes on the DRAM chip. Column-shaped paths penetrate the entire thickness of the silicon wafer, delivering data, commands, and currents. HBM2E is closely interconnected with GPUs and logic chips that are separated by only a few µm, resulting in faster and more efficient data transfer speeds. Compared to HBM2(current-gen) memory, it 30% smaller in size and up to 50% more power-efficient, thanks to the new packaging technology.

It is built specifically for supercomputers, industrial GPUs, and next-gen AI systems including Deep Learning Accelerator, which requires high-level computing performance. It is also expected to be used in the Exascale supercomputer: a high-performance computing system that can perform calculations a quintillion times per second. Jonghoon Oh, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at SK Hynix hopes to lead the industry with their premium memory products.

For more updates, stay tuned!

Further Reading:

AMD Ryzen 7 4700G Flagship APU Benchmarks Leaked

AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7 4700G APU has been leaked online by a Facebook page, ITCooker. The chip is a part of the Ryzen 4000 APU family called ‘Renoir’ and is supposedly the final retail design. The page has also provided benchmarks that give a fairly accurate idea regarding its performance.

The 4700G will feature AMD’s Zen2 architecture based on the 7nm process. While it is based on the same 7nm node as the Ryzen 3000 processors, the chip features a different rigid design, unlike the chiplet design of the latter. Based on the screenshots provided, it will have 8 Cores/16 Threads along with 8MB of L3 cache. It will feature a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4.5GHz. It will be compatible with the AM4 socket and has a power rating of 65W TDP.

The benchmark was done on an ASRock B500 Taichi motherboard using CPU-Z. Since graphics drivers aren’t available, only the CPU results are available. Speaking of graphics, the Ryzen 7 4700G packs quite a punch for an integrated GPU. It features 8 compute units and 512 cores clocked at 2100 MHz. Graphics benchmarks should become available soon as we near the launch of the APUs.

In the coming months, AMD will launch several of their ‘Renoir’ APUs featuring 4, 6, and 8 cores with both 35W and 65W TDP ratings. Like the Ryzen 3000 series, the APUs will support 3200MHz RAM natively, but the Vega iGPU would require a higher frequency RAM for enhanced performance. Both the B550 and X570 boards should help in getting more out of them.

In terms of pricing, expect the flagship 8 Core processors to be around $200-$250 and the budget 4 Core CPUs to be priced around $150-$200. The Renoir APUs are expected to launch next month and more details will become available soon.

Source: Wccftech