AMD Never Settle Reloaded Bundle Campaign Includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: tomb raider, never settle reloaded, never settle, Crysis 3, bundle, bioshock infinite, bioshock, amd

You might remember over the holiday season of 2012 that AMD had a simply amazing bundle of games to entice PC gamers to choose purchasing Radeon graphics cards instead of GeForce.  That bundle included Medal of Honor, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3.  We were stoked to see that kind of comittment to the gamer and even did a set of three game streams with AMD on each games' release. 

Well after a behind-the-scenes battle that was finally decided just about two weeks ago, AMD is ready to announce the "Never Settle Reloaded" bundle that might actually be MORE impressive based on the games included. 

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First up is the reboot of Tomb Raider, a fresh look at the Lara Croft character that I got to get hands on at an event in Toronto last year.  Due out on March 5th, the visuals in this game are damn good.

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Bioshock infinite is the third game in the acclaimed series and has a few DirectCompute additions to the game engine code.  Release is set on March 26th.

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DMC Devil May Cry is included for the APAC region (instead of Tomb Raider).

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And the biggest name in the bundle is no doubt Crysis 3 - a game that many PC gamers have been looking forward to and one that promises to push gaming performance on high-end GPUs to their limits.  I was playing this on a GTX 680 recently (the MP beta) and couldn't get more than 40 FPS at 1080p and Ultra settings. 

So how doese the bundle break down?

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If you buy a single Radeon HD 7970 or HD 7950 you'll be able to get keys for both Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite, completely free!  HD 7800 series buyers will get both Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider.

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Just to make things MORE interesting, if you invest in a set of HD 7900 cards for CrossFire, or even a dual-GPU HD 7900 card like the Devil 13, you'll get Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs.  That is 6 full PC games worth at least $300 that you'll get keys for just for picking AMD's Radeon cards over NVIDIA's GeForce.

nsr7.jpg

A not-so-subtle jab at the competition...

So there you have it, the Never Settle Reloaded bundle.  This iteration doesn't include anything for HD 7700 series cards but I think most enthusiasts are going to stay in the HD 7850 and above range of options anyway. 

NVIDIA has definitely fallen behind when it comes to these kinds of deals for PC gamers and I want to know what YOU think - do these bundles affect your purchasing decision?  We heard from AMD that at least one major reseller of PC hardware saw an "order of magnitude" increase in sales during the holiday season with the original Never Settle bundle and they even won a Newegg award for best marketing campaign. 

Get ready for game streams again as well - we'll be hosting a few of them in February and March with more hardware and game keys to give away!

UPDATE: These deals are live right now!  You can find a list of the HD 7970 cards at Newegg.com, starting at just $379 and even the HD 7950 cards starting at $295 that come with Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite keys!  If you are looking more in the HD 7800 series range, you can find HD 7870s starting at just $209 with Bioshock and Tomb Raider keys!

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta GPU Driver With Optimizations For Crysis 3

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2013 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, amd, graphics drivers, gpu, Crysis 3, catalyst

The Crysis 3 beta was launched January 29th, and AMD came prepared with its new Catalyst 13.2 beta driver. In addition to the improvements rolled into the Catalyst 13.1 WHQL graphics driver, Catalyst 13.2 beta features performance improvements in a number of games.

Foremost, AMD focused on optimizing the drivers for the Crysis 3 beta. With the new 13.2 beta drivers, gamers will see a 15% performance improvement in Crysis 3 when using high MSAA settings. AMD has also committed itself to future tweaks to improve Crysis 3 performance when using both single and CrossFire graphics configurations. The driver also allows for a 10% improvement in CrossFire performance in Crytek’s Crysis 2 and a 50% performance boost in DMC: Devil May Cry when running a single AMD GPU. Reportedly, the new beta driver also reduces latency issues in Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Finally, the 13.2 beta driver resolves a texture filtering issue when running DirectX 9.0c games.

For more details on the driver, AMD has posted the change log on its blog as well as suggested image quality settings for AMD cards running the Crysis 3 beta.

Now watch: PC Perspective live streams the Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta.

 

Source: AMD

MSI's AMD powered $1200 gaming laptop, the GX60

Subject: Mobile | January 30, 2013 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: msi, gx60, gaming laptop, amd, 7970m

If you want a gaming laptop and don't want to spend $2000+ then an AMD powered machine is a really good choice, even if you are attracted to Intel's more powerful CPUs.  Not only are the graphics on the A10-4600M better than Intel's offerings, the MSI GX60 comes with a discrete 7970M GPU with 2GB of dedicated RAM.  That will beat out all but the most expensive of Intel powered gaming laptops and in certain situations will prove more powerful than even the most expensive laptops.  If you opt to have a 128GB SSD installed in the GX60 it will bring the price to about $1500, you could most likely get a 256GB SSD separately instead if you are looking to save some cash.  Check out the performance at TechSpot.

TS_gx60.jpg

"Most people can’t afford to spend a few thousand on a notebook computer, even if it's on a solid gaming machine that doubles as a desktop replacement. To that end, today we'll be checking out a portable from MSI that aims to deliver a solid gaming experience without the excessive cost.

The MSI GX60 comes packed with a quad-core AMD A10-4600M CPU clocked at 2.3GHz alongside AMD Radeon HD 7970M discrete graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, a 15.6-inch non-glare display operating at 1920x1080, 8GB of DDR3 memory in a 4GBx2 configuration, 128GB of flash storage used as the OS drive and a 750GB 7200RPM disk drive for storage."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: TechSpot

As powerful as it is rare, meet the ASUS ROG ARES II

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 28, 2013 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: ROG ARES II, asus, amd

The new ASUS ROG ARES II sports two HD7970 cores at 1100MHz, faster than reference, as well as a total of 6GB of VRAM also overclocked at a speed of 6.6GHz.  In previous dual GPU and single PCB solutions we often see the cores running slower than reference but in this case thanks to the custom self contained liquid cooler this card breaks that trend.  With four full-sized DisplayPort, one single-link DVI and one dual-link DVI port you can support up to six displays off of this one card.  [H]ard|OCP were blown away by the performance of the card and equally impressed with the cooler, especially when they added the extra fan and overclocked the card.  Unfortunately you won't be seeing a lot of them, there will be only 1,000 of these video cards sold, and only 100 of those in North America.

H_ares2.jpg

"ASUS is launching its latest flagship ROG series video card, the ASUS ROG ARES II. This beast takes two Radeon HD 7970 GHz GPUs and provides CrossFire performance in a dual-slot configuration with unique custom closed-loop external cooling. This powerful limited edition video card is a born overclocker!"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #235 - AMD Hardware in the PS4, a GK110 NVIDIA product, Corsair 200R case and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 24, 2013 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: video, titan, ps4, podcast, nvidia, kavari, Kabini, H80i, gk110, GCN, corsair, APU, amd, 200r

PC Perspective Podcast #235 - 01/24/2013

Join us this week as we discuss potential AMD Hardware in the PS4, a GK110 NVIDIA product, Corsair 200R case and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:16:39

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:25 Corsair Hydro Series H80i Taken Apart
    2. 0:03:45 Video: Corsair Carbide 200R Overview
    3. 0:10:30 Silverstone Zeus 1350 watt power supply
  2. 0:13:35 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:15:15 Corsair Launches 140mm and 280mm coolers
    2. 0:17:50 Catalyst 13.1 drivers released
    3. 0:19:30 SimCity Beta Weekend
    4. 0:25:00 NVIDIA GK110 Titan Rumored for February
    5. 0:30:50 Intel to exit motherboard business after Haswell
    6. 0:38:00 But ASUS says its okay...
    7. 0:41:30 PS4 Hardware discussion
  4. Closing:
    1. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Pegasus R4 with Thunderbolt
      2. Jeremy: Not since the Sumosac has there been something more sure to get you the ladies!
      3. Josh: Just built a machine with one of these
      4. Allyn: Zip Snip ($20 at Lowes)
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

PlayStation 4 (PS4) Orbis Hardware Specifications - AMD APU or Discrete?

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | January 23, 2013 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, sony, ps4, playstation 4, orbis, Kaveri, bulldozer, APU, amd

Earlier today a report from Kotaku.com posted some details about the upcoming PlayStation console, code named Orbis and sometimes just called the PS4.  Kotaku author Luke Plunkett got the information from a 90 page PDF that details the development kit so the information is likely pretty accurate if incomplete.  It discusses a new controller and a completely new accounts system but I was mostly interested in the hardware details given.

We'll begin with the specs. And before we go any further, know that these are current specs for a PS4 development kit, not the final retail console itself. So while the general gist of the things you see here may be similar to what makes it into the actual commercial hardware, there's every chance some—if not all of it—changes, if only slightly.

This is key to keep in mind because here are the specs listed on the report:

  • 8GB of system memory
  • 2.2GB of graphics memory
  • 4 module (8 core) AMD Bulldozer CPU
  • AMD "R10xx" based GPU
  • 4x USB 3.0 ports and 2x Ethernet connections
  • Blu-ray drive
  • 160GB HDD
  • HDMI and optical audio output

We are essentially talking about an AMD FX-series processor with a Southern Islands based discrete card and I am nearly 100% sure that this will not match the configuration of the shipping system.  Think about it - would a console developer really want to have a processor that can draw more than 100 watts inside its box in addition to a discrete GPU?  I doubt it. 

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Instead, let's go with the idea that this developer kit is simply meant to emulate some final specifications.  More than likely we are looking at an APU solution that combines Bulldozer or Steamroller cores along with GCN-based GPU SIMD arrays.  The most likely candidate is Kaveri, a 28nm based product that meets both of those requirements.  Josh recently discussed the future with Kaveri in a post during CES, worth checking out.  AMD has told us several times that Kaveri should be able to hit the 1.0 TFLOPs level of performance and if we compare to the current discrete GPUs would enable graphics performance similar to that of an under-clocked Radeon HD 7770.

There is some room for doubt though - Kaveri isn't supposed to be out until "late Q4" though its possible that the PS4 will be the first customer.  It is also possible that AMD is making a specific discrete GPU for implementation on the PS4 based on the GCN architecture that would be faster than the graphics performance expected on the Kaveri APU. 

kaveri.JPG

When speaking with our own Josh Walrath on this rumor, he tended to think that Sony and AMD would not use an APU but would rather combine a separate CPU and GPU on a single substrate, allowing for better yields than a combined APU part.  In order to make up for the slower memory controller interface (on substrate is not as fast as on-die) AMD might again utilize backside cache, just like the one used on the Xbox 360 today.  With process technology improvements its not unthinkable to see that jump to 30 or 40MB of cache.

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With the debate of a 2013 or 2014 release still up in the air, there is plenty of time for this to change still but we will likely know for sure after our next trip to Taipei.

Source: Kotaku

ASUS Shows Off ROG ARES II GPU With Sealed Loop Water Cooler

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 19, 2013 - 01:26 AM |
Tagged: water cooler, sealed loop, ROG ARES II, gpu cooler, asus, amd, 7970 ghz edition

ASUS has taken the wraps off of a new dual GPU graphics card that comes equipped with a sealed loop liquid cooler to keep the two overclocked 7970 GHz Edition GPUs frosty. The new ROG ARES II is a limited edition card that pairs the ARES II GPU with an Asetek-based cooler and rounds out the top-end of the company’s Republic of Gamers lineup.

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The card itself features two AMD Radeon 7970 GHz Edition GPUs clocked at 1050 MHz base and 1100 MHz boost, 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1650 MHz, and ASUS’ DIGI+ 20-phase VRM with “Super Alloy Power” hardware. The ROG ARES II has a 500W TDP and uses three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. The card measures 11.8” x 5.5” x1.8,” not including the radiator.

The ROG ARES II includes one DVI-I, one DVI-D, and four DisplayPort video outputs. ASUS is also packing a DVI to HDMI adapter in the box.

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The sealed loop water cooler is where the card sets itself apart, however. Based on an Asetek design, the ARES II water cooler features a 120mm radiator, and two CPU-style water blocks over each 7970 GHz Edition GPU. The loop runs from the radiator and through both water blocks before returning to the radiator which is paired with two 120mm fans. Curiously, the water cooler did not result in a single-slot design. Rather, the ARES II card has a somewhat-bulky two slot profile. According to ASUS, the water cooled card will run up to 31 degrees Celsius cooler than the reference NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card while being as much as 13% faster (though ASUS does not specifically name the games/benchmarks).

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ASUS has not released any pricing or availability information, but you can expect it to rival the price of PowerColor’s Devil 13 thanks to the sealed loop water cooler and ARES II hardware. Currently, ASUS is planning on producing a mere 1,000 liquid cooled ARES II cards, so be prepared to be fast on the mouse click upon release.

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I would have liked to see a water cooler that was a bit more customized to the card. In particular, I think ASUS should have used a single water block that covered both GPUS and the VRM area, which would have allowed ASUS to get rid of the fan on the card itself entirely. Nevertheless, the ARES II will be extremely fast, and hopefully run nice and cool even when overclocked. I’m interested in seeing a head-to-head between the ARES II and PowerColor Devil 13.

Read more about AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture at PC Perspective.

Source: Asus

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.1 GPU Drivers With Various Tweaks for Radeon HD 7000 Series

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2013 - 11:33 AM |
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, gpu, drivers, catalyst 13.1, amd

AMD recently released a new set of Catalyst graphics card drivers with Catalyst 13.1. The new drivers are WHQL (Microsoft certified) and incorporate all of the fixes contained in the 12.11 beta 11 drivers. The Radeon HD 7000 series will see the majority of the performance and stability tweaks with 13.1. Additionally, the Catalyst 13.1 suite includes a new 3D settings interface in Catalyst Control Center that allows per-application profile management. The Linux version of the Catalyst 13.1 drivers now officially support Ubuntu 12.10 as well.

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Some of the notable performance tweaks for the HD 7000 series include:

  • CrossFire scaling performance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II improvements.
  • Up to a 25% increase in Far Cry 3 when using 8X MSAA.
  • An 8% performance increase in Sleeping Dogs and StarCraft II.
  • A 5% improvement in Max Payne 3.

 

New 3D Settings UI in Catalyst.jpg

Beyond the performance increases, AMD has fixes several bugs with the latest drivers. Some of the noteworthy fixes include:

  • Fixed a system hang on X58 and X79 chipset-based systems using HD 7000-series GPUs.
  • Fixed an intermittent hang with HD 7000-series GPUs in CrossFireX and Eyefinity configurations.
  • Resolved a system hang in Dishonored on 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards.
  • Resolved a video issue with WMP Classic Home Cinema.
  • Added Super Sample Anti-Aliasing support in the OpenGL driver.

AMD has also released a new standalone un-installation utility that will reportedly clean your system of AMD graphics card drivers to make way for newer versions. That utility can be downloaded here.

If you have a Radeon HD 7000-series card, it would be worth it to update your drivers ASAP. You can download the Catalyst 13.1 drivers on the AMD website.

You can find a full list of the performance tweaks and bug fixes in the Catalyst 13.1 release notes.

Source: AMD

Podcast #234 - CES 2013 wrapup, discuss new Corsair liquid coolers, Frame Rating and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2013 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, Intel, H80i, h60, H100i, frame rating, corsair, ces 2013, CES, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #234 - 01/17/2013

Join us this week as we wrap up CES 2013 talk, discuss new Corsair liquid coolers, Frame Rating and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 0:59:05

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:10 CES Wrap up and Summary
    2. 0:08:45 Corsair Hydro Series Coolers - H60, H80i, H100i
    3. 0:11:00 Frame Rating Part 2 - Finding and Defining Stutter
  2. 0:15:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:18:10 AMD accuses NVIDIA employees of stealing 100k documents
    2. 0:24:10 ST Ericsson shows off FD-SOI Product (and Josh explains)
    3. 0:32:00 CES: Prototype Intel TV system seen at Imagination suite
    4. 0:33:20 Caustic shows ray tracing cards at CES
    5. 0:35:45 Intel Haswell graphics compared to GeForce GT 650M
    6. 0:37:50 ASUS tablet with VIA SoC for $149
    7. 0:41:30 The Windows RT Jailbreak
    8. 0:43:00 Bioshock Infinite to be a PC gaming beast
  4. Closing:
    1. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Logitech T650 Touchpad
      2. Jeremy: Eyefinity, good price on active Mini DisplayPort though dual link will still cost you
      3. Josh: Finally at their promised MSRP
      4. Allyn: Waze (road tested 2200 miles)
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Another update

In our previous article and video, I introduced you to our upcoming testing methodology for evaluating graphics cards based not only frame rates but on frame smoothness and the efficiency of those frame rates.  I showed off some of the new hardware we are using for this process and detailed how direct capture of graphics card output allows us to find interesting frame and animation anomalies using some Photoshop still frames.

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Today we are taking that a step further and looking at a couple of captured videos that demonstrate a "stutter" and walking you through, frame by frame, how we can detect, visualize and even start to measure them.

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This video takes a couple of examples of stutter in games, DiRT 3 and Dishonored to be exact, and shows what they look like in real time, at 25% speed and then finally in a much more detailed frame-by-frame analysis.

 

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Obviously this is just a couple instances of what a stutter is and there are often times less apparent in-game stutters that are even harder to see in video playback.  Not to worry - this capture method is capable of seeing those issues as well and we plan on diving into the "micro" level as well shortly.

We aren't going to start talking about whose card and what driver is being used yet and I know that there are still a lot of questions to be answered on this topic.  You will be hearing more quite soon from us and I thank you all for your comments, critiques and support.

Let me know below what you thought of this video and any questions that you might have.