Testing GPU Power Draw at Increased Refresh Rates using the ASUS PG279Q

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | October 24, 2015 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: ROG Swift, refresh rate, pg279q, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, geforce, asus, 165hz, 144hz

In the comments to our recent review of the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q G-Sync monitor, a commenter by the name of Cyclops pointed me in the direction of an interesting quirk that I hadn’t considered before. According to reports, the higher refresh rates of some panels, including the 165Hz option available on this new monitor, can cause power draw to increase by as much as 100 watts on the system itself. While I did say in the review that the larger power brick ASUS provided with it (compared to last year’s PG278Q model) pointed toward higher power requirements for the display itself, I never thought to measure the system.

To setup a quick test I brought the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q back to its rightful home in front of our graphics test bed, connected an EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti (with GPU driver 358.50) and chained both the PC and the monitor up to separate power monitoring devices. While sitting at a Windows 8.1 desktop I cycled the monitor through different refresh rate options and then recorded the power draw from both meters after 60-90 seconds of time to idle out.

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The results are much more interesting than I expected! At 60Hz refresh rate, the monitor was drawing just 22.1 watts while the entire testing system was idling at 73.7 watts. (Note: the display was set to its post-calibration brightness of just 31.) Moving up to 100Hz and 120Hz saw very minor increases in power consumption from both the system and monitor.

But the jump to 144Hz is much more dramatic – idle system power jumps from 76 watts to almost 134 watts – an increase of 57 watts! Monitor power only increased by 1 watt at that transition though. At 165Hz we see another small increase, bringing the system power up to 137.8 watts.

Interestingly we did find that the system would repeatedly jump to as much as 200+ watts of idle power draw for 30 seconds at time and then drop back down to the 135-140 watt area for a few minutes. It was repeatable and very measurable.

So, what the hell is going on? A look at GPU-Z clock speeds reveals the source of the power consumption increase.

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When running the monitor at 60Hz, 100Hz and even 120Hz, the GPU clock speed sits comfortably at 135MHz. When we increase from 120Hz to 144Hz though, the GPU clock spikes to 885MHz and stays there, even at the Windows desktop. According to GPU-Z the GPU is running at approximately 30% of the maximum TDP.

Though details are sparse, it seems pretty obvious what is going on here. The pixel clock and the GPU clock are connected through the same domain and are not asynchronous. The GPU needs to maintain a certain pixel clock in order to support the required bandwidth of a particular refresh rate, and based on our testing, the idle clock speed of 135MHz doesn’t give the pixel clock enough throughput to power anything more than a 120Hz refresh rate.

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Pushing refresh rates of 144Hz and higher causes a surprsing increase in power draw

The obvious question here though is why NVIDIA would need to go all the way up to 885MHz in order to support the jump from 120Hz to 144Hz refresh rates. It seems quite extreme and the increased power draw is significant, causing the fans on the EVGA GTX 980 Ti to spin up even while sitting idle at the Windows desktop. NVIDIA is aware of the complication, though it appears that a fix won’t really be in order until an architectural shift is made down the road. With the ability to redesign the clock domains available to them, NVIDIA could design the pixel and GPU clock to be completely asynchronous, increasing one without affecting the other. It’s not a simple process though, especially in a processor this complex. We have seen Intel and AMD correctly and effectively separate clocks in recent years on newer CPU designs.

What happens to a modern AMD GPU like the R9 Fury with a similar test? To find out we connected our same GPU test bed to the ASUS MG279Q, a FreeSync enabled monitor capable of 144 Hz refresh rates, and swapped the GTX 980 Ti for an ASUS R9 Fury STRIX.

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The AMD Fury does not demonstrate the same phenomenon that the GTX 980 Ti does when running at high refresh rates. The Fiji GPU runs at the same static 300MHz clock rate at 60Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz and the power draw on the system only inches up by 2 watts or so. I wasn't able to test 165Hz refresh rates on the AMD setup so it is possible that at that threshold the AMD graphics card would behave differently. It's also true that the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU is running at less than half the clock rate of AMD Fiji in this idle state, and that may account for difference in pixel clocks we are seeing. Still, the NVIDIA platform draws slightly more power at idle than the AMD platform, so advantage AMD here.

For today, know that if you choose to use a 144Hz or even a 165Hz refresh rate on your NVIDIA GeForce GPU you are going to be drawing a bit more power and will be less efficient than expected even just sitting in Windows. I would bet that most gamers willing to buy high end display hardware capable of those speeds won’t be overly concerned with 50-60 watts of additional power draw, but it’s an interesting data point for us to track going forward and to compare AMD and NVIDIA hardware in the future.

Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: ASUS

Specifications

It's hard to believe that it has only been 14 months since the release of the first ASUS ROG Swift, the PG278Q, back in August of 2014. It seems like lifetimes have passed, with drama circling around other G-Sync panels, the first release of FreeSync screens, the second geneation of FreeSync panels that greatly improve overdrive. Now, we sit in the middle of the second full wave of G-Sync screens. A lot can happen in this field if you blink.

The PG278Q was easily the best G-Sync monitor on the market for quite a long time. It offered performance, features and quality that very few other monitors could match, and it did it all while including support for NVIDIA's G-Sync variable refresh rate technology. If you are new to VRR tech, and want to learn about G-Sync you can check out our original editorial or an in-depth interview with NVIDIA's Tom Petersen. In short: being able to have a variable refresh rate on a panel match the frame rate of the game prevents Vsync quirks like screen tearing and judder.

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But a lot has changed since ASUS released the PG278Q including the release of other higher quality monitors from the likes of Acer, BenQ and others. ASUS showed off some new G-Sync ready displays at CES but that was way back in January of 2015 - more than 10 months ago! The PG279Q was the most interesting to us then and remains that way today. There are some impressive specifications on the table including a 27-in 2560x1440 screen built on IPS technology, to improve color reproduction and view angles, a 165Hz maximum refresh rate and the best build quality we have seen on a gaming monitor to date.

This time ASUS has a lot more competition to deal with but can the ROG Swift PG279Q real ignite ASUS as the best G-Sync monitor provider? What kind of experience do you get for a $799 monitor today?

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q 165Hz 2560x1440 27-in IPS G-Sync Monitor!!

ASUS Has Created a White AMD Radeon R9 Nano

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: r9 nano, mITX, mini-itx, graphics card, gpu, asus, amd

AMD's Radeon R9 Nano is a really cool product, able to provide much of power of the bigger R9 Fury X without the need for more than a standard air cooler, and doing so with an impossibly tiny size for a full graphics card. And while mini-ITX graphics cards serve a small segment of the market, just who might be buying a white one when this is released?

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According to a report published first by Computer Base in Germany, ASUS is releasing an all-white AMD R9 Nano, and it looks really sharp. The stock R9 Nano is no slouch in the looks department as you can see here in our full review of AMD's newest GPU, but with this design ASUS provides a totally different look that could help unify the style of your build depending on your other component choices. White is just starting to show up for things like motherboard PCBs, but it's pretty rare in part due to the difficulty in manufacturing white parts that stay white when they are subjected to heat.

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There was no mention on a specific release window for the ASUS R9 Nano White, so we'll have to wait for official word on that. It is possible that ASUS has also implemented their own custom PCB, though details are not know just yet. We should know more by the end of next month according to the report.

Podcast #371 - MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G, ROG Product Announcements, Ultrawide G-Sync and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2015 - 04:21 PM |
Tagged: xps15, xps13, video, uhs-2, uhs-1, thinkpad stack, sd cards, ROG, podcast, msi, Maximus VIII, Lenovo, gx700, gt72s, G752, dell, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #371 - 10/15/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G, ROG Product Announcements, Ultrawide G-Sync 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:39:38

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:42:55 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
  3. News item of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  5. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

In the continental US and want to win NewEgg's Game Like a Pro contest?

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2015 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: zotac, western digital, vertagear, seasonic, ocz, nzxt, newegg, Intel, hyperx, contest, asus

There is a contest on NewEgg right now for those living in the continental US with a Grand Prize of a full high end gaming system, including a chair as well as two other prizes from Zotac, a ZBox Magnus EN970 and a TX 970 AMP! edition GPU.  Tweet #GameLikeAPro and fill in the email form for a chance to win, 20 entries max at one per 24 hours.

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Thanks to our friends at Seasonic for pointing us to this contest!!

Source: NewEgg

ASUS Announces ROG G752 G-SYNC Gaming Laptop

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 13, 2015 - 10:23 AM |
Tagged: ROG G752, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, Intel Core i7, GTX 980M, gaming laptop, asus

ASUS has announced the Republic of Gamers ROG G752, their newest gaming notebook featuring 6th-gen Intel Core i7 mobile processors and graphics cards ranging from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M to the GTX 980M. The notebook also features NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology for its 17.3-inch matte IPS panel across the three available versions.

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ASUS is also advertising the laptop's brand new cooling system, a "3D Vapor Chamber" design:

Temperature uniformity vapor chambers are commonly found alongside high-performance, high-voltage graphics cards to increase cooling efficiency. The ROG-exclusive mobile 3D Vapor Chamber, together with the copper heat pipe, create an effective and efficient cooling system that helps improve GPU performance for smooth and stable gaming. ROG G752 is the world’s first laptop to integrate a vapor chamber into its cooling system.

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The ROG G752 offers a new physical design and the new Titanium and Plasma Copper color scheme from ASUS, and in addition to the new cooling system the notebooks are equipped with a new "ergonomically-designed" keyboard that features 2.5mm key-travel distance as well as anti-ghosting with 30-key rollover.

Here are the full specifications:

  • Processor: 6th-generation Intel Core i7 (Skylake) processor
  • Chipset: Mobile Intel CM236
  • Memory: DDR4 2133MHz (upgradable to 64GB)
  • Display: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT / ROG G752VY - 17.3in anti-glare FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS LED backlit with NVIDIA G-SYNC
  • Graphics card:
    • ROG G752VL - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
    • ROG G52VT - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB / 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
    • ROG G752VY - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB / 8GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • Storage:
    • ROG G752VL - 2.5in SATA 2TB (5400 rpm); 2.5in SATA 1TB (7200 rpm); M.2 PCIe X4  NVME 256GB/128GB SSD
    • ROG G752VT/ ROG G752VY - 2.5in SATA 2TB (5400 rpm); 2.5in SATA 1TB (7200 rpm); M.2 PCIe X4  NVME 512GB/256GB/128GB SSD
  • Optical drive: DVD Super-Multi / Blu-ray Combo / Blu-ray writer
  • Camera: Built-in HD camera with array mic
  • Operating system: Windows 10, Windows 10 Professional
  • Size: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT: 428 x 334 x 23 ~ 43mm; ROG G752VY: 428 x 334 x 23 ~ 53mm 
  • Weight: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT: 4.06kg (with a 6-cell battery); ROG G752VY: 4.36kg (with a 8-cell battery)

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Pricing and availability were not announced, but expect to see the new ROG G752 laptops in the retail channel soon.

Source: ASUS

We really want the ASUS PG279Q - 2560x1440, IPS, G-Sync...165 Hz

Subject: Displays | October 9, 2015 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG, swift, pg279q, gsync, g-sync, ips

Okay, we see a lot of monitors here at PC Perspective...but this is probably the current "most coveted" of them all. The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q looks nearly identical to the first generation ROG Swift display but with a couple of key modifications. Yes, this is still a 27-in 2560x1440 monitor but this time...oh this time...it holds a 165 Hz IPS screen.

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Moving away from the world of TN screens and into the image-quality-improvement of IPS, the PG279Q not only brings ASUS' first G-Sync capable IPS 2560x1440 panel to the world but also ups the ante more than any other screen we have seen when it comes to the maximum refresh rate: this beast will top out at 165 Hz! High performance gamers that have taken to the 144 Hz market will surely see the advantages of stepping up yet again though I am curious how ASUS is able to drive an IPS screen at this speed without artifacts or issues. 

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Interestingly, this panel not only includes a DisplayPort connection for 165 Hz 2560x1440 throughput but also an HDMI 1.4a input that can run 2560x1440 at 60 Hz, should you need that kind of thing. If you prefer ULMB over G-Sync, you have that option as well. 

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I'm not sure yet, but I can feel Allyn's trigger finger on the BUY NOW button...if it existed. We don't have pricing and we don't have any update on availability, but if our past experiences with the ROG Swift line are any indication, I have a feeling this display is going to impress.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Officially Launches ROG Swift PG27AQ, 4K IPS G-Sync Monitor

Subject: Displays | October 9, 2015 - 06:13 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG, swift, pg27aq, 4k, g-sync, gsync

Back at CES we first got to see the ASUS ROG Swift PG27AQ, a 4K resolution IPS G-Sync enabled gaming monitor with all the fit and finish we came to love with the first ROG Swift display. Today, as part of the ROG Unleashed event being held in San Jose, the monitor has been officially unveiled.

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The build and specifications remain pretty much unchanged though pricing and availability are still up in the air. 

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The ASUS PG27AQ updates and changes the ROG Swift design and style in small areas including adding an illuminated Republic of Gamers logo to the base along with the red circle. The stand includes supports for height adjustment, rotation, and tilt - basically mirroring the capability of the original ROG Swift.

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Seeing a 4K IPS G-Sync monitor warms my heart though I wonder if we will need the next generation of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs to be able to power it effectively with a single card. G-Sync variable refresh rate technology does mean that gamers will be able to run at lower frame rates without the worry of screen tearing or judder.

Finally, even though the display has support for HDMI, it will only run at 4K / 24 Hz or 1080p / 60 Hz - there is no true HDMI 2.0 support to be found. The full resolution and refresh rate, as well as G-Sync support, are enabled through the DisplayPort connection only.

Source: ASUS

Two new ROG desktops from ASUS, the G11CD and the G20CB

Subject: Systems | October 9, 2015 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, LGA 1151, Intel H170, Intel H110, G11CDm G20CB, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS has announced two new models of ROG Desktops for gamers based on Intel's new Skylake processors.  Both models offer a choice of i5 or i7 processors and a gamut of video cards including and AMD R9 380 and in the case of the G11CD/CB an NVIDIA GTX 745 up to a 980 Ti while the G20CB ranges from a GT740 to a TITAN X.

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The G11 is a full sized desktop, 176x440x442mm (6.9x17.3x17.4") and if you choose the CB model you will be able to have an H170 motherboard, a GTX 980Ti and up to a 512GB M.2 SSD.  The CD model does not support those features and is built on an H110 motherboard.  Both models off a choice between a DVD or Blu-Ray optical drive.

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The ROG G20 offers more power in a slightly smaller case, 104x340x358mm (4.1x13.4x14.1") which is achieved by using an external power supply and dropping the optical drive altogether.

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ASUS has managed to offer a vertically mounted TITAN X in this form factor, which is no small achievement.  The ROG G20 also offers wireless connectivity in addition to a wired LAN Port, along with space for two internal drives. 

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All models share the familiar black and red ROG colour scheme, a nice mix of  USB 3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 ports and 7.1 audio.  There is no word on the pricing for either of these desktops, keep an eye out for updates as we learn more.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Impact Mini-ITX Z170 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, SFF, ROG, motherboard, mini-itx, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, asus

ASUS has announced their latest mini-ITX offering in the Republic of Gamers series, and the Maximus VIII Impact motherboard packs an outrageous number of features into one formidable little 6.7-inch square. In fact, short of the second PCIe slot afforded the larger mATX form-factor, the newest Impact board looks to be every bit as powerful as the recently released Maximus VIII Gene motherboard.

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"To push performance even further, Maximus VIII Impact has a full-scale voltage-regulator module (VRM) dubbed Impact Power III vertically-mounted onto the tiny board, allowing you full access to digital power management for ultra-precise and stable overclocks with your  processor and memory.  ROG has also managed to squeeze in 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning and Pro Clock technology so you can get the most out of your 6th Gen. Intel processor and overclocked DDR4 memory which goes up to 4133MHz or higher." 

Let’s check out the specs on this new Impact board:

  • CPU: LGA1151 socket for 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors
  • Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
  • Memory: Dual-channel memory architecture
    • 2x DIMM, max. 32GB DDR4-4133(OC) non-ECC, un-buffered memory
  • PCIe Slot: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (supports x16 mode)
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics Processor
    • HDMI 1.4b
    • Intel InTru 3D/Quick Sync Video/Clear Video HD Technology/Insider
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac supports dual frequency band 2.4/5GHz; MU-MIMO
  • Bluetooth: V4.1, 4.0LE
  • USB: 2x USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C) powered by Intel USB 3.1 controller; 6x USB 3.0 ports (2 at mid-board)
  • Storage: 1x U.2 port (PCIe x4, 32Gb/s), 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports. Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
  • LAN: Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN with Anti-surge LANGuard, ROG GameFirst Technology
  • HD Audio: SupremeFX Impact III
    • ROG SupremeFX 2015 High Definition Audio Codec
    • ESS® ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream™ Architecture
    • 2Vrms Headphone Amp into 32-600 Ohms
    • SupremeFX Shielding Technology
    • Optical S/PDIF output at back panel
    • Sonic Studio II; Sonic Radar II; Sonic SenseAmp; DTS Connect
  • Fan headers: 2x 4-pin onboard; 3x 4-pin on daughter card
  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX, 6.7" x 6.7" (17 cm x 17 cm)

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Update, 10/11/15: The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact motherboard is now available at Newegg.com for $248.99.

Source: ASUS