EVGA Changes the Game Again
Dual-GPU graphics cards are becoming an interesting story. While both NVIDIA and AMD have introduced their own reference dual-GPU designs for quite some time, it is the custom build models from board vendors like ASUS and EVGA that really peak our interest because of their unique nature. Earlier this year EVGA released the GTX 460 2Win card that brought the worlds first (and only) graphics card with a pair of the GTX 460 GPUs on-board.
ASUS has released dual-GPU options as well including the ARES dual Radeon HD 5870 last year and the MARS II dual GTX 580 just this past August but they were both prohibitively rare and expensive. The EVGA "2Win" series, which we can call it now that there are two of them, is still expensive but much more in line with the performance per dollar of the rest of the graphics card market. When the company approached us last week about the new GTX 560 Ti 2Win, we jumped at the chance to review it.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win 2GB
The new GTX 560 Ti 2Win from EVGA follows directly in the footsteps of the GTX 460 model - we are essentially looking at a pair of GTX 560 Ti GPUs on a single PCB running in SLI multi-GPU mode. Clock speeds, memory capacity, performance - it should all be pretty much the same as if you were running a pair of GTX 560 Ti cards independently.
Just as with the GTX 460 2Win, EVGA is the very first company to offer such a product. NVIDIA didn't design a reference platform and pass it along to everyone like they did with the GTX 590 - this is all EVGA.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 27, 2011 - 07:41 PM | Matt Baynum
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 560, geforce
A rumor that I read over at Guru3D seems to think that the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, a card that has been very successful in the ~$230 graphics market, might be getting an upgrade just in time for the pending holiday buying season. According to the report, the new version would move from the current 384 CUDA core count to 448 cores, essentially adding another full SM (symmetric multiprocessor) to the GPU.
A collection of current GTX 560 Ti cards...
Guru3D notes though that the "new" GTX 560 Ti would be based on the GF110 GPU (same as the GTX 580 and GTX 570) simply because the GTX 560 Ti uses all the available processing cores of the GF114 design. The GPU on this new card would be a GTX 580 with two SMs disabled, rather than the single SM disabled on the GTX 570.
Here are the reports other details:
It features 14 active SMs, which include 448 SP / CUDA Cores and 56 TMUs; 320-bit memory and 40 ROPs - a very similar configuration to the old GTX 470. Along with increased performance, power consumption is expected to rise over the 384 SP GTX 560 Ti. A benefit to using GF110 means the revised 560 Ti will feature 2 x SLI connectors, enabling 3-way SLI.
While I believe this part could definitely exist, I wouldn't think NVIDIA would simply remove the current GTX 560 Ti and replace it; instead I would imagine the company would go for the "GTX 565" route, or something similar to it. Maybe a GTX 560 Ultra. Either way, a new card that would fit in to the price slot somewhere between the GTX 560 Ti ($230) and the GTX 570 ($340) would be a welcome addition, especially with games like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim set to take advantage of that horsepower.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 24, 2011 - 03:06 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, geforce, bf3, amd
I know that you might have Battlefield 3 overload by now, but I wanted to make sure you all remembered to take a look at our BF3 Performance Guide from a couple weeks back to make sure your PC is ready for what might be the most anticipated and talked about PC titles in years.
Here is a summary of the content we have written based on the game - make sure you know ALL of it so you can get your system prepared for the pending battle!!
- Battlefield 3 (BF3) System Build Guide - What you need to succeed
- Come see our easy suggestions for building a system for BF3 (or upgrading) based on your target resolution and quality settings.
- Battlefield 3 Beta Performance Testing and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
- We test quite a few graphics cards to see where your setup currently stands with Battlefield 3.
- More Battlefield 3 Beta Performance Results: GTX 460, Radeon HD 5850 and 9800 GT!
- We added some lower end cards to the performance article as well including the very popular 9800 GT.
- PCPer Live! Battlefield 3 Beta Party and Discussion @ 10:30pm EST
- You missed it, but it was fun and we are going to be doing more next weekend!
- Battlefield 3 Beta: Caspian Border Performance and Screenshots
- Come see the performance results from our 64-player testing on the Caspian Border map!
- Battlefield 3 (BF3) Beta Performance: Quality Preset and SLI Scaling
- Here you can see how performance scales from Ultra to High, Medium and Low presets as well as how much performance gain you can expect from SLI scaling.
Keep checking back at PC Perspective as we are planning on doing some more fun live streaming of our BF3 matches and be sure to sign up for the official PCPer "Fragging Frogs" platoon in Battlelog!
RAGE is not as dependant on your graphics hardware as it is on your CPU and storage system (which may be an industry first); the reason for which we will discover when talking about the texture pop-up issue on the next page.
The first id Software designed game since the release of Doom 3 in August of 2004, RAGE has a lot riding on it. Not only is this the introduction of the idTech 5 game engine but also culminates more than 4 years of development and the first new IP from the developer since the creation of Quake. And since the first discussions and demonstrations of Carmack's new MegaTexture technology, gamers have been expecting a lot as well.
Would this game be impressive enough on the visuals to warrant all the delays we have seen? Would it push today's GPUs in a way that few games are capable of? It looks like we have answers to both of those questions and you might be a bit disappointed.
First, let's get to the heart of the performance question: will your hardware play RAGE? Chances are, very much so. I ran through some tests of RAGE on a variety of hardware including the GeForce GTX 580, 560 Ti, 460 1GB and the Radeon HD 6970, HD 6950, HD 6870 and HD 5850. The test bed included an Intel Core i7-965 Nehalem CPU, 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory running off of a 600GB VelociRaptor hard drive. Here are the results from our performance tests running at 1920x1080 resolution with 4x AA enabled in the game options:
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 29, 2011 - 06:51 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, pcper live, nvidia, geforce, bf3, battlefield 3, amd
Look, there isn't any football on tonight, so what else are you going to do? Rather than watch a rerun of Seinfeld, why not stop by here at http://pcper.com/live to hang out and not only watch us play some Battlefield 3 but also participate yourself by calling in on Skype, using Google+ Hangouts or even just chatting on our IRC server (welcome back to 1998, amiright?).
We are going to start the show at 10:30pm EST and plan on running until midnight at least, but it all depends on participation levels from YOU!
What all do we have on the agenda? Well, it is going to be pretty informal as we are still getting our feet wet with this whole "live" thing but here is what we are planning:
- Watch Ryan and Ken get destroyed over and over in Battlefield 3 and watch as we attempt to sneak our way into the password protected Caspian levels with vehicles, 64 players and a new game type (oh my!).
- Skype call ins from readers and gamers that want to talk about BF3 and their experiences with the game so far. How does it run on your hardware? Discussion like this will help others that might not have the beta figure out what they might want to upgrade in the near future. (Be prepared to give us your Skype handle in the chat so we can call you!)
- Trying some group games via our PC Perspective Platoon, the Fragging Frogs! (Head over and apply to join or become a fan!) You can also find me on EA Origin or in the Battlelog system as "ryanshrout".
- We will discuss our brainstorming sessions for what hardware we will recommend for certain gaming resolutions and specific image quality settings in a future article...all live!
- Maybe some surprise guests from the PC Perspective staff and beyond...??
We will be streaming the festivities live on our Justin.tv channel (embedded below) and will have a chat widget here as well for those of you that would rather use IRC than the integrated Justin.tv chat.
In short, we are planning on having a good time playing some games and talking hardware so if you are into that, then I think you should be sure to stop by and say hello!! Let us know in the comments if you have anything else you want to see or any more ideas for our live show. Thanks!!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 29, 2011 - 05:54 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: bf3, battlefield 3, nvidia, amd, geforce, radeon, gtx 460, hd 5850, 9800 gt
I just wanted to drop a quick note here on the home page to let you know that we haven't been just playing around on Battlefield 3 all day - instead we have been playing around on BF3 all day in order to bring you some more information about performance in the game! Earlier this afternoon I updated my Battlefield 3 Beta Performance article with a new page that focuses on results from the GeForce GTX 460 1GB, the AMD Radeon HD 5850 1GB and the GeForce 9800 GT 512MB card for those of you that are really behind the curve in the upgrade cycle.
What's this? The Caspian map? Performance results soon!
I would recommend you check out that new content to see where you hardware might fall and hopefully over the weekend we are going to be putitng together a system guide similar to our own Hardware Leaderboard but targetted at the BF3 gaming experience. Stay tuned!!
The Battlefield 3 Beta
Update 2 (9/30/11): We have some quick results from our time on the Caspian Border map as well if you are interested - check them out!
It was an exciting day at PC Perspective yesterday with much our time dedicated to finding, installing and playing the new Battlefield 3 public beta. Released on the morning of the 26th to those of you who had pre-ordered BF3 on Origin or those of you who had purchased Medal of Honor prior to July 26th, getting the beta a couple of days early should give those of you with more FPS talent than me a leg up once the open beta starts on Thursday the 29th.
My purpose in playing Battlefield 3 yesterday was purely scientific, of course. We wanted to test a handful of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA to see how the beta performed. With all of the talk about needing to upgrade your system and the relatively high recommended system requirements, there is a lot of worry that just about anyone without a current generation GPU is going to need to shell out some cash.
Is that a justified claim? While we didn't have time yet to test EVERY card we have at the office we did put some of the more recent high end, mid-range and lower cost GPUs to the test.
Is a GTX 590 just not enough for you?
A Legacy of Unique Engineering
ASUS has often been one of only a handful of companies that really pushes the limits of technology on their custom designed products including graphics cards, sound cards, notebooks, motherboards and more. Just a little over a year ago I wrote a review of the ASUS ARES Dual Radeon HD 5870 graphics card - the first of its kind and it was labeled the "Ultimate Graphics Card" at the time. Life on the top of mountain doesn't last that long in the world of the GPU though and time (and the GTX 590 and HD 6990) left the Greek god of war in the rearview mirror.
This time around we have a successor to the MARS - the NVIDIA version that combines two top-level GPUs on a single PCB. The new ASUS MARS II we are reviewing today is a pair of binned GTX 580 GPUs paired together for full-time SLI and built with a limited edition run of 999 units. In many ways the MARS II and the ARES share a lot of traits: custom designed cooling and PCB, a unique aesthetic design, limited edition status and significant physical weight as well. Of course, the price tag is also pretty high and if you aren't comfortable reading about a $1300 graphics card you might as well turn around now... For those that dare though, you can be sure that the MARS II will have you dreaming about PC gaming power for years to come!
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | July 29, 2011 - 02:27 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: water cooling, pny, liquid cooler, GTX 580, geforce
Just Delivered is a section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
Today is a good day to be working at PC Perspective - the goods just keep hitting the door! After taking a quick look at a new MSI motherboard we also have the world's first look at the upcoming PNY XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580 + CPU cooler combo!
You know how self-contained water cooling for processors is all the rage these days? (And why not, we love it!) Well NVIDIA and PNY teamed up to create a liquid cooled GPU, the GTX 580 of course, and also have two options for it: one with the GPU only and the other that includes an inline CPU water block as well.
We literally have the first two production units from PNY in-house and are going through the installation process for them as I type this. The GTX 580s support SLI (if you want to go that route) and look much like a reference GTX 580 in terms of their external design. The insides are quite different though:
Asetek provides a GPU water block that is mounted on the PCB while the fan runs at a much lower speed than normal as it is basically only used for keeping the memory temperatures under control.
Our units include the CPU water block portion as well which DOES add to the complexity of the installation as well as packaging but I think we are going to find this to be a very efficient (and quiet) way to cool almost your entire rig.
Did I mention we are going to be giving BOTH OF THEM AWAY at our Hardware Workshop next weekend at Quakecon 2011? Well now I did. These are valued at $650 each! Just another reason why you need to be in attendance, don't you think?
How much will these Bitcoin mining configurations cost you in power?
Earlier this week we looked at Bitcoin mining performance across a large range of GPUs but we had many requests for estimates on the cost of the power to drive them. At the time we were much more interested in the performance of these configurations but now that we have that information and we started to look at the potential profitability of doing something like this, look at the actual real-world cost of running a mining machine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week became much more important.
This led us to today's update where we will talk about the average cost of power, and thus the average cost of running our 16 different configurations, in 50 different locations across the United States. We got our data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration website where they provide average retail prices on electricity divided up by state and by region. For use today, we downloaded the latest XLS file (which has slightly more updated information than the website as of this writing) and started going to work with some simple math.
Here is how your state matches up:
The first graph shows the rates in alphabetical order by state, the second graph in order from the most expensive to the least. First thing we noticed: if you live in Hawaii, I hope you REALLY love the weather. And maybe it's time to look into that whole solar panel thing, huh? Because Hawaii was SO FAR out beyond our other data points, we are going to be leaving it out of our calculations and instead are going to ask residents and those curious to just basically double one of our groupings.
Keep reading to get the full rundown on how power costs will affect your mining operations, and why it may not make sense to mine AT ALL with NVIDIA graphics cards!