March has been a huge month for PC gamers. GDC brought deep insights into the future of graphics technology, GPU prices crashed, and Nvidia and Intel launched new graphics cards. This month set the tone for 2022, and PC gamers have a lot to look forward to.
There were no one-off stories this month, with most announcements and releases receiving multiple follow-ups. To bring you up to speed, I’ve rounded up the most important PC gaming news from March and what it means for the future of the hobby.
The biggest news for PC gamers in March was GPU price drop. Finally, it looks like graphics cards are approaching list price, with some cards actually selling out for List of prices. I never thought I would be happy to pay the asking price for products that are a year and a half old, but here we are.
At the beginning of the month, I also recommended don’t buy GPUs yet, despite falling prices. A few weeks later, prices have dropped significantly, and all trends point to a return to normal some time in the next few weeks.
It’s time to celebrate, PC gamers. You can ultimately buy a graphics card.
You can buy a graphics card, but probably not the latest from Nvidia. The company launched its RTX 3090 Ti towards the end of the month. It’s the halo product that nvidia fans long-awaited, but it comes with ominous signs for the future of PC graphics.
As rumors suggested, it comes with huge power requirements. The base model requires 450 watts on its own, and some third-party cards require power connections capable of delivering up to 1200W of power. the Next-gen RTX 4080 might also have high power demands, so the future of PC gaming is looking… hot.
It looks expensive too. GPU prices are falling, but the RTX 3090 Ti sells out for an exorbitant price. Towards the end of the month, Nvidia even bragged to investors on customers who spend an average of $300 more on a graphics card.
Microsoft finally opened its DirectStorage API in March, allowing developers to implement loadout technology into their games. We don’t have DirectStorage games yet, but developer Luminous Productions has pitched the tech to GDC, saying it could help Speak charge in as little as 1 second.
According to the developer, that’s not even the full advantage of DirectStorage. Luminous Productions claims to have been able to eliminate I/O bottlenecks, but the future of DirectStorage will also include GPU-accelerated file decompression. This could help kill loading screens in PC games for good.
More than that, DirectStorage frees up a lot of CPU power. A developer video explaining the technology claimed it could reduce CPU overhead by up to 40%. DirectStorage will help your games load faster, but it can also help them run faster.
Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) has been the de facto scaling technology for nearly three years, but fierce competition is on the horizon. AMD announced FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 2.0, which looks like a massive improvement over the first version. Finally, DLSS could be dethroned.
Intel also provided details on its XeSS scaling technology, which works with GPUs from multiple companies, unlike DLSS. By the end of the year, we will have two branded scaling options that work on all graphics cards and could provide DLSS-like image quality.
the strongest evidence of DLSS obsolescencehowever, is Ghostwire Tokyo. It’s the first game to ship with Unreal Engine’s Super Time Resolution (TSR), and it looks nearly identical to DLSS. Even better, it works with any modern GPU or console, and Unreal developers can easily implement it in their games.
The decades-old battle between AMD and Nvidia was turned upside down in March. Intel launch its first discrete graphics cards, called Arc Alchemist. In addition to performance, Intel has announced a range of features GPUs will support including DirectX 12 Ultimate, AV1 decoding and XMX AI accelerators.
We only have laptop GPUs for now, but Intel provided a design match for his next desktop cards. The future of PC gaming looks like a three-way race, which should hopefully spur more competition than we’ve seen in recent generations.
That’s only if Intel can update the cards, though. AMD didn’t just let Intel get the upper hand, so the company released its own benchmarks comparing Intel’s new mobile GPU to AMD’s. And the results aren’t great, with AMD’s lowest mobile GPU wiping out Intel’s.
We have a new challenger in the world of graphics cards… at least for now.