Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

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Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by DocAElstein »

Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU, “the extra computer bum brain” ?

Hi,
This is related a bit to this recent Thread: http://www.eileenslounge.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=39359

So, I have spent some time recently getting clued up on Video Editing software, in particular the software Davinci Resolve.
I want to use Davinci Resolve, and I have it now downloaded, installed on several computers and have a massive amount of Blog and tutorial material on it, which I am going through.
I can’t get to try it out though very well, not yet, but that was/ is no surprise. As part of my getting clued up, I soon realised that all my computers are hopelessly inadequate in their performance, (in particular the graphic/ display performance), required to run Davinci Resolve.

I think got two options:
Option 1: Ask a dealer to sell me a computer to run Davinci Resolve, and two seconds later he will offer me one costing a few thousand Euros
Option 2: I think if I look carefully I might get a second hand gaming PC for 100-200 Euros that will run Davinci adequately for my fairly basic needs

First, I am trying the second option just now.
For that option I needed/ need a better understanding of high performance graphic computer specifications. I think I have managed to get a good enough Layman explanation. So I am asking in this thread if someone who knows about these things can tell me if I have it approximately right, correct me where I am wrong, or add any other comments they think might help me.


This is my Layman take on it all so far:

Once upon a time there were Big Computers, then PCs and Laptops became more widely available as like “Home computers”

The average Home user computer, “off the shelf”, has/ had typically, things like a memory and a disk drive and something called a CPU. The CPU might be considered like the brain of a small Dinosaur animal or the brain of a simple Dog like animal, - not really a human brain but pretty good at keeping the thing going.
Somewhere integrated in all that is something or other that controls the display and graphics. This something or other probably uses/ needs typically a 100MB or at most a few hundred MB of something …. (Occasionally the display and graphics of a bog standard everyday computer might be wrapped up in a term going loosely by the abbreviation of GPU. But that might be a slightly incorrect use of that term – see later below*** )
Over the years all that has slowly got better, better in typical performance I mean, just as one might expect.

But somewhere along the way, stuff like Home Gaming reared its ugly addictive head, and in order for this gaming stuff to work well on home computers, orders of magnitude better graphic and display controlling stuff became needed. This sprouted the world of bolted on Graphic Cards and Co. Sometimes they were almost as big as the computer itself and often needed a bigger cooling fan than the main computer! As time went on it became more common to get available “gaming PCs” which have the extra needed display and graphic power stuff already built in.
The newer display and graphic power, ( whether as standard in a modern gaming PC, or added to a more avarage PC later with better “graphic card & Co”), is what might be a more correct use*** of the term GPU. This might be thought of as the extra brain in the bum of a dinosaur that controls its hind legs. - In the case of a very high graphic and display performing computer it might be considered as like a dinosaur with over sized back legs and bum brain so that it looks like some grotesque oversized kangaroo with a fat bum.
The GPU might be considered as a virtual software RAM disk in a separate RAM in the bum of a dinosaur, and the term VRAM is a measure somehow of this extra graphic/ display memory/ virtual extra disk thing.


How does that sound to anyone who understands all this stuff?
Or any other comments that might help me understand it all better
.
Thanks
Alan

_._______________________

By the way, if you want to see if you have a VRAM, (or in the case of a simple standard PC something that might be considered as such***) then you can do this
MicrosoftSymbol+r
dxdiag

Then look through the figures given for any displays you have
On some of my computers I see a VRAM given. Others don’t have it shown anywhere there.

Image

On people with much higher performing graphics and displays they seem to sometimes have some extra display tab, and I am guessing this is somehow related to something in the “bum brain” ?

Image

_._______

Similarly if you go into your Task Manager ( for example with Ctrl + Shift + Esc), and then select the performance tab, you will almost certainly see a CPU, as I do, but not necessarily a GPU

Image

Some people whose computers I am considering buying have kindly shown me there’s (Task manager Performance), and they seem to have a GPU shown – the computers “bum brain” maybe?

Image



_.___________________________________________________




Ref: Sytem requirements, Davinci Resolve.
https://videowithjens.com/davinci-resol ... sing-mode/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orMGy99slsU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xOS6R1K284
I seriously don’t ever try to annoy. Maybe I am just the kid that missed being told about the King’s new magic suit, :(

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by HansV »

DocAElstein wrote:
14 Mar 2023, 11:35
Alan (and his Mother-In-Law)
You too? :flee:

Most Windows PCs and laptops come with basic support for graphics that uses part of the computer's RAM memory, often integrated on the motherboard.
This kind of graphics support is fine for using Microsoft Office, watching YouTube, and even playing simple games such as Solitaire.
It does mean that there is less RAM left for non-graphics stuff.
Your first screenshot shows an example of this: Intel HD Graphics (Core i3), with only 128 MB of memory.

But it is not powerful enough for graphics-intensive applications such as video editing and playing 3D games. Such applications use a large amount of application memory and graphics memory, and would be intolerably slow.
That's where a separate graphics card, with its own memory, comes into play.
Your second screenshot shows such a card: an NVidia GeForce GTX 1650, with almost 4GB of its own memory.

So the computer in the first screenshot is OK for everyday use, but it will struggle if you try your hand at video editing.
The NVidia card in the second one is not the most powerful video card available today, but it's decent and will at least do much better than the other one.
Best wishes,
Hans

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by DocAElstein »

....She was only visiting.....

Thx, that ties up with what I am thinking and clarifies it a bit. So is a GPU like a virtual RAM disk in the VRAM , in other words a GPU is like a virtual RAM disk that uses the extra own RAM memory of the graphic card?
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by HansV »

I wouldn't call it a RAM disk.
A graphics card is a card with its own processing unit (the GPU), its own memory, its own cooling fans and its own ports to connect one or more monitors.
The processing unit is like the CPU that is the "brain" of the computer, but it has been optimized to handle graphics tasks - hence the name GPU = Graphics Processing Unit.
Best wishes,
Hans

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by DocAElstein »

OK, I think I got a good enough understanding for what I need for now, thanks.
( Currently, amongst others, I am watching some computers on offer on ebay that have a graphic card of Nvidia GTX 1050 or Nvidia GTX 1060 and that looks like about the level I should go for. A computer with a 1050 graphic card I almost got just now, but it was snapped away from me in the last second at about 180 Euros.
So I guess I am looking at about 200 Euros
Alan
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by stuck »

A bit more detail...

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is a silicon chip designed to execute the instructions (one at a time) set out in the 'code' for a program. To do that, the CPU loads the code into Random Access Memory (RAM), which is also a silicon chip but is designed just to remember the code, and then reads each instruction from RAM and carries out whatever the instruction is.

A video is just a digital version of a movie, playing back a video doesn't require great computation, just the ability to present each (still) frame rapidly enough to fool our vision into seeing the sequence as fluid movement. Modern games though are not simple videos. What a user sees on screen has to be constantly updated by whatever feedback is coming from the user as they click / tap / whatever. That means every frame that is displayed has to be computed before it can be sent to the screen. The faster the screen refresh rate the smoother the display on screen. That's an awful lot of computation. So much computation that even today's high end CPUs can't keep up and if that were to that happen the game would appear to freeze or stutter and the game would be unplayable. The same sort of logic applies to editing a video because again you are not simply playing back each frame you are tweaking each frame, changing it in some way.

The solution is to write the code such that the CPU knows upfront which instructions are about 'graphics' and that means the CPU can off load those instructions to separate hardware specifically designed to execute graphics commands, i.e the CPU will not hold graphics instruction in it's RAM, it will pass it over to Video RAM (VRAM), where it is held ready for a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to execute it. The CPU sill has the last word though and ensures that the parallel processing done by the GPU is tied in with whatever it is doing so that what actually reaches the screen is as it should be. This dedicated graphics hardware can either be soldered directly onto the motherboard, so called on-board graphics or mounted on a separate graphics card. On-board graphics are OK for simple applications (Word, Excel, etc.) but for games and video editing you need a separate graphics card.

It follows therefore that to edit videos or play modern games you need a high speed CPU, with lots of RAM that can be read from and written to at high speed AND you need a high speed GPU, with lots of VRAM that can be read from and written to at high speed.

Ken

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by DocAElstein »

Thanks Ken, It’s good to know a bit more about this.
It looks like this Video making, ( or rather the editing side of it) adventure of mine is causing me to get a computer that will definitely end up the best of my diverse collection, by a long way. Previously great computer performance was never something I needed up until now for anything I did, but I don’t think I will get away without it for Davinci Resolve. After a week or two looking at it, I think I would like to use Davinci Resolve.


In the past, I done loads of useful diverse stuff on a lot of computers I have, and got away with it all extremely cheaply financially. I won’t manage that with this little adventure, although getting clued up on what to look for with a good suited second hand gaming PC will still make it relatively cheap – people spend thousands on this gear – I think I will get away with 200-300 Euros as its looking currently.

I probably made a good choice to investigate the editing side of things before the video making itself, - I expect from what you are saying, the video making will be the lesser of the two in terms of computing power I need, I guessed that might be the case - my wife sent me short videos made on small XP notebooks already 15 years ago, but nothing that ever needed editing, like I would want in tutorials – I want to be making the final video with selection from multi camera and a bit of other stuff added.
And it looks like a reasonable decision for me to go with a gaming PC, so as to have the complete package, the big extra graphic stuff, but also based on what you are saying the bumped up main CPU and main RAM I also need. I am taking quite a leap with the main RAM – the biggest I have anywhere currently is 4GB, and I am looking at 12GB-16GB amongst the computers I am looking at just now!


Alan
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by stuck »

An aside...

The computational abilities of a GPU can be used by programs other than games or video editors. For example, one of my photo editors is an application called PhotoLab. It is primarily a tool for processing RAW image files. If all you do is open such a file type and tweak it on screen then those tweaks are simply stored in the programs db, so that when you reopen the file the changes you made previously are still there. There's not a lot of computing power required for that functionality.

However, if you want share your work, you need to export the edited version in a format that anybody else can open, like a TIFF or a JPEG. The amount of computing power required for an export varies from 'not a lot' to 'lots'. It depends on the size of the original file and the type of noise reduction algorithm you have applied to the image.

When my PC only had on-board graphics exporting an image using the best noise reduction algorithm it took about 4 mins to generate a TIFF or a JPEG. PhotoLab is coded to take advantage of a dedicated GPU if one is fitted so a few days ago I fitted a (second hand) Nvidea GTX 1050 ti 4 GB VRAM graphics card to my machine. Now an export takes only about 30 secs.

Ken

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by stuck »

DocAElstein wrote:
14 Mar 2023, 15:30
...And it looks like a reasonable decision for me to go with a gaming PC... ...I am looking at 12GB-16GB...
For video editing I'd anticipate anything less than 16 GB RAM to be painful, 32 GB is a more realistic minimum. You'll also need a large and fast SSD as your main disk storage device. For the GPU, the faster and the more VRAM the better. I'd guess an Nvidia GTX 2060 with 6 GB VRAM would be the bottom end for pain free work. Search for DaVinci Resolve system requirements.

In summary, I don't think this is something to try to do on the cheap.

Ken

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by StuartR »

One other big difference between a typical CPU and a typical GPU.

A GPU is usually a SIMD design. This stands for single instruction, multiple data. For example there might be an instruction to multiply by 2 that applies to all pixels in an image (to increase brightness). A GPU can carry out these SIMD instructions very fast, affecting LOTS of data in one go.

A CPU is usually a SISD design. Single instruction, single data. For example multiple this specific number by 2
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by DocAElstein »

Thanks all for all the extra info. It all helps me to get there…
_.____________________
stuck wrote:
14 Mar 2023, 16:09
I'd anticipate anything less than 16 GB RAM to be painful, 32 GB is a more realistic minimum. You'll also need a large and fast SSD as your main disk storage device. For the GPU, the faster and the more VRAM the better. I'd guess an Nvidia GTX 2060 with 6 GB VRAM would be the bottom end for pain free work.
That is useful info to have on what you think on the minimum specs I should be going for.

I started already a week or so ago with DaVinci Resolve’s own given minimum specs which I found in a few places initially, and then have also come across again in the meantime, as like

_(i) Integrated GPU or discrete GPU with at least 2 GB of VRAM
_(ii) GPU which supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11.
_(iii) NVIDIA/AMD/Intel GPU Driver version – as required by your GPU.

I gave up initially thinking about the last two so much as it was just too much for anyone who was offering a gaming PC to think about or have any idea about, or want to discuss with me. A few people had some idea about VRAM, which I think now I have myself a good enough understanding to either get out of people, or find myself one way or the other.

As time went on, based on the various communications I have had with sellers, and continued research generally in the whole area, I have came up with ideally minimum 4GB VRAM, but a couple of people have been quite convincing suggesting I might get away with 3GB with the particular computer they are selling.

As for graphic cards…
Consider as example just NVIDIA graphic cards , just to simplify the discussion here for now, and since that has come up the most in my searches, NVIDIA graphic cards I mean on the computers I am considering buying currently.

I have seen reports of people using “as far down” as GTX970 with 4GB VRAM
GTX 1060 comes up a lot. I have read that it comes in either 3GB or 6 GB VRAM. I have people thinking it should be OK for me, and a couple claiming they have a gaming PC with GTX 1060 to sell me with 3GB VRAM or 3.5GB VRAM that ran DaVinci Resolve at some time or other
Similar story with GTX 1050, which I think comes in 4GB VRAM. I came closest so far this morning to almost buy a gaming PC with that at about 200 Euros, the seller gave me a lot of believable info last night suggesting it should do the job for me,

I realise there is all the other stuff to consider, but I am hoping that may fall into place to some extent.


As for main RAM,
I think most often I have seen the 16GB main RAM shown on what I have been looking for, and on what I thought was doing it for me with the VRAM. Sometimes I saw 12GB RAM on something I thought might be OK form me. Lower than that, and other stuff gave me a gut feeling that the computer in question was not going to do it anyway.
( I have seen 32GB once or twice - I thought it was a typo, Lol!!! )


For me it’s a bit too much to try and check out the CPU specs. Once again I hope that kind of fits with the other stuff of getting VRAM right in an original PC, rather than one added to later, and also some indication occasionally that similar computers to the ones I am looking for did DaVinci Resolve


You Ken, seem to be suggesting I might be aiming a bit too low with everything , so I will definitely bear that in mind as I keep looking into this….
I got one guy with a RTX 2060 6GB VRAM to sell who has had a bit of good contact with me and is fairly convincing when he says what he has would be good to very good for what I want.
Another one with a GTX 1660 6GB VRAM, and that guy does not seem to have any idea what he has, so I might be lucky and catch a bargain there
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by stuck »

DocAElstein wrote:
14 Mar 2023, 17:33
...
I got one guy with a RTX 2060 6GB VRAM to sell who has had a bit of good contact with me and is fairly convincing when he says what he has would be good to very good for what I want...
I agree but bear in mind, I have no experience of video editing (or gaming). I just know that video files tend to be big so being able to hold them in RAM and read / write them to and from disk are essential if you want to be able to work with them without always waiting for the hourglass to stop spinning. That means f I was to try my hand at it, I'd definitely be looking at a min of 32 GB RAM and I'd want a high spec SSD, one with a M.2 PCIe Gen4 form factor not a 'simple' SATA one. These things are not cheap.

One other comment. While it is usually simple to add RAM to a machine, buy the correct module and plug it in, I don't think the same is true for VRAM, i.e I don't think that if you were to have a graphics card with 3 GB VRAM you could by another 3 GB module and plug it into the card. If you want a card with 6 GB VRAM you need to buy one with 6 GB in the first place. Happy for someone to correct / educate me on that point though.

Ken

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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

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That RTX 2060 6GB VRAM one has just the 16GB normal RAM
4 days before the auction end at it’s already at 200 Euro.
https://www.ebay.de/itm/266168233584
That is definitely not going to go for less than 300 Euros based on what I have seen so far. Still this little adventure of mine is a computer cost exception for me, so I will still consider it, … maybe I should go all the way… - as the saying goes , in for a penny , in for half a thousand euros
Perhaps, or maybe I will hold out for the 32 GB normal RAM as well. Or maybe not - The bigger normal RAM does not usually seem to make a lot of difference to the price. As you say, that sort of normal RAM thing is perhaps easy to add anyway, although I never did anything like that myself..

I don’t understand what all this new 4K stuff is about either, but I have a feeling it’s not something I will be needing. I think from what I have heard, if I don’t need that 4K stuff, then my demands on Davinci Resolve will not be so high meaning the computer specs I need for it will therefore also be a bit less

By the way, I assume with all this there is no special demands on the Monitor? If I understand correctly all the high performance stuff is for what is going on behind the scenes? – what finally gets chucked to the screen will not be any special sort of signal needing a special Monitor? It is a totally different issue if I understand correctly. I need not think particularly about any special Monitors for all this?
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

Post by StuartR »

You may need a more expensive monitor if you really care about colour accuracy.
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Re: Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, example VRAM, GPU

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I don’t think accurate colour quality figures so much yet anywhere in any of my plans. I want a raw “real” touch to all videos I make. I do like to use colour, but exactly what colour and the accuracy of it won’t worry me. If people viewing the final video see a slightly different shade to what I do when I am making and editing the video then it shouldn’t matter too much
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Help understanding high performance graphic computer specifications, 'cos I need to buy one

Post by DocAElstein »

Hi,
Here is some feedback, as I have a computer now with good graphic specs, :) –It arrived today, - its very pretty with a glass sides and changing psychedelic light shows shining out of it. ( I did not particularly want the light shows but it seemed like a lot of the gaming PCs have that sort of thing… ). (It has some gold cables is in it as well that look similar to the lower performing end of something that made me rich and famous 30 years ago, before I went away…. Maybe high frequency state of the art things will catch up with me in another 20-30 years! ).
https://i.postimg.cc/W3mFZ4Zr/Pretty.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/MK3cVNns/Pretty-Inside-Lights.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/WpXtcCw2/Pretty-Lights.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/FHfYZpch/Pretty-Inside-Lights.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/HskcJdkc/Pretty-Gold-Cables.jpg


After the help and info here I went back to looking at this on the internet, getting clued up again, now with a better initial idea of what I needed, and investigating a second hand computer, mostly on ebay..
It looked like that to have a good chance of getting DaVinci Resolve Video Editor software to do a fairly good job for me I was looking at a GPU somewhere around the Nvidea GTX 1660 to Nvidea RTX 2060, 4GB-6GB VRAM, and in a second hand PC I could pick that up for anywhere between 200-500 Euros.
(There seemed to be more Nvidea things than any other manufacturer, so it was easiest to get some feel for the PC I needed based on the typical graphic Nvidea thing in it)
Over the last few weeks I tried hard to see if I could pick out a good bargain. Twice I came very close to a great bargain around 200 Euros with A PC with one of those Nvidea things, but very annoyingly my currently very unreliable internet line crapped out on the last few seconds of an ebay Auction, :(
In the end as a compromise I tried making an offer , and got it for a bit under 300 Euros.
https://bit.ly/3nrYQSo
https://www.ebay.de/itm/204265163036

By most peoples standards 300 Euros is not so much for a computer, but quite a bit more than I ever paid , at least for a second hand computer. ( Just the way I personally tend do computer things, a few not so good computers usually suits me a bit better than one very good one)

That I purchased has a Graphic card of a XFX (AMD) Radeon RX 580 ,
VRAM 8GB-GDDR5,
and a normal RAM of 16GB , ( and it looks like that normal RAM can be bumped up to 64GB, if that is what the " Maximale Arbeitsspeichergröße: 64 GB" means in the specs. )


According to my research, the Nvidea GTX 1660 is at the bottom end of what could do a good job , and for I want, do most of the possibilities with DaVinci Resolve Video Editor, even if not super fast and efficiently.
The AMD Radeon RX 580 was usually rated a bit under that Nvidea GTX 1660 in general overall comparisons. However, for running in particular DaVinci Resolve, it was usually rated slightly higher. Perhaps that lies in some of the specs, I am not sure….
Nvidea GTX 1660 VRAM 3.5GB – 6GB VRAM , supports OpenCL 1.2
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB VRAM , supports OpenCL 2.0
I did read a few articles and things where that OpenCL minimum version seemed critical. Most of the Nvidea graphic cards, even the better more higher spec ones seemed always to be at supports OpenCL 1.2.
Davinci themselves say minimum 2 GB VRAM, and supports minimum OpenCL 1.2. As a layman I am thinking then that OpenCL 2.0 is a wise thing to have.

To my nice surprise the seller seems to have installed Davinci Resolve for me, https://i.postimg.cc/mrfgSsBS/Pretty-Davinci.jpg
https://i.postimg.cc/bNrrygm1/Pretty-Davinci.jpg
( I had had some good contact with him, and we discussed what I wanted to do ). It seems to open OK, so maybe for now I will leave it at that, and think a bit about how to make some Videos, ( https://eileenslounge.com/viewtopic.php ... 43#p306043 )
, and re look at a lot of Davinci Resolve Tutorials. -

Thanks again for all the help. I am cautiously happy that I have the PC to do the editing/ merging job, but maybe I will post again here later, just to mention if/ how its doing the video editing I want.

Alan



GPU v CPU
https://de.quora.com/qemail/tc?al_imp=e ... VAyqsptDvU

(Here are some of the full specs of the thing,
https://i.postimg.cc/tJ2srm24/GPU-Specs.png
https://i.postimg.cc/RCRJVN4x/GPUSpecs.png
https://i.postimg.cc/Z51CDNFp/GPUSpecs-VRAM.png
https://i.postimg.cc/q7yzf7jY/Normal-Specs.png
https://i.postimg.cc/DZc0ZMVP/Normal-Specs.png
)
I seriously don’t ever try to annoy. Maybe I am just the kid that missed being told about the King’s new magic suit, :(