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Tested Builds: Foam Propmaking, Part 5

We finish this week's build by painting our foam weapons and adding some leather handles. They turned out wonderfully! Thanks to Bill Doran for coming by our office to give us this tutorial, and thanks to all of you for following along with the build. Hope you learned something! We'll be back next month with another fun week of building, so stay tuned!

Photo Gallery: Theo Jansen's Strandbeests in San Francisco

We've very privileged to have artist/scientist Theo Jansen's Strandbeests in San Francisco for the summer, in an exhibition at the Exploratorium science and discovery museum. Last week, Theo took two of his creatures to San Francisco's Crissy Field beach, where they roamed against a Golden Gate backdrop. Here are some photos from that outing, as well as the exhibition, which opens today!

Barnaby Dixon's Elegant Finger Puppet Concept

We've gotten a flurry of tips from readers about puppet maker Barnaby Dixon's finger puppet concept, and you were all correct--this video is amazing. The two-handed puppet is wired with hand and leg mechanisms that give it lively movements and gesture capability. It really comes alive in Barnaby's hands. While we're on the topic of puppets, Academy Originals recently profiled Laika studio's Head of Puppetry in an in-depth behind-the-scenes video.

Adam Savage's Maker Faire 2016 Talk!

It's been called the Maker Faire Sermon, but you know it as Adam's annual talk at the Maker Faire festival. This year, Adam spoke on a mechanical giraffe, sharing stories about his recent visits to maker spaces around the country, bouts of self-doubt, and his mission going forward. Plus, some great questions from the crowd!

Meet Ryan Nagata's Sci-Fi Ray Gun Collection

While visiting prop maker Ryan Nagata's shop, Adam Savage learns about Ryan's collection of custom ray gun replicas. These beautiful hand props are each unique in their design and inspiration, and would right at home in a mid-century sci-fi serial. Check out the one based off of WETA's Dr. Grordbort Righteous Bison!

Testing: GeForce GTX 1080 Compute Performance

Can Nvidia's new flagship compute? Sure it does. But how well?

Out of idle curiosity, I ran a couple of OpenCL compute-oriented benchmarks on the GTX 1080 and three other GPUs. Bear in mind that this is more quick-and-dirty benchmarking, not rigorously repeated to validate results. The results, however, look interesting and the issue of compute on new GPUs bears further investigating.

The Setup

These tests ran on my existing production system, a Core i7-6700K with 32GB DDR4 running at the stock 2,133MHz effective. I used four different GPUs: GTX 1080, Titan X, GTX 980, and an AMD Radeon Fury Nano. The GTX 1080 used the early release drivers, while the other GPUs ran on the latest WHQL-certified drivers available from the GPU manufacturer's web site.

As you can see from the table below, all four GPUs ran at the reference frequencies, including memory. When I show the results, I don't speculate on the impact of compute versus memory bandwidth or quantity. As I said: quick and dirty.

GPUGTX 1080Titan XGTX 980Radeon Fury Nano
Base Clock1.6GHz1.0GHz1.126GHz1.0Ghz
Boost Clock1.73GHz1.075GHz1.216GHz1.05GHz
Memory Bandwidth320GB/s336GB/s224GB/s512GB/s

CompuBench CL

The first benchmark, CompuBench CL from Hungary-based Kishonti, actually consists of a series of benchmarks, each focusing on a different compute problem. Because the compute tasks differ substantially, CompuBench doesn't try to aggregate them into a single score. So I show separate charts for each test. CompuBench CL 1.5 desktop uses OpenCL 1.1.