Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

A slightly new architecture

Note: We also tested the new AMD Radeon R9 290X in CrossFire and at 4K resolutions; check out that full Frame Rating story right here!!

Last month AMD brought media, analysts, and customers out to Hawaii to talk about a new graphics chip coming out this year.  As you might have guessed based on the location: the code name for this GPU was in fact, Hawaii. It was targeted at the high end of the discrete graphics market to take on the likes of the GTX 780 and GTX TITAN from NVIDIA. 

Earlier this month we reviewed the AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, and the R7 260X. None of these were based on that new GPU.  Instead, these cards were all rebrands and repositionings of existing hardware in the market (albeit at reduced prices).  Those lower prices made the R9 280X one of our favorite GPUs of the moment as it offers performance per price points currently unmatched by NVIDIA.

But today is a little different, today we are talking about a much more expensive product that has to live up to some pretty lofty goals and ambitions set forward by the AMD PR and marketing machine.  At $549 MSRP, the new AMD Radeon R9 290X will become the flagship of the Radeon brand.  The question is: to where does that ship sail?

 

The AMD Hawaii Architecture

To be quite upfront about it, the Hawaii design is very similar to that of the Tahiti GPU from the Radeon HD 7970 and R9 280X cards.  Based on the same GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture AMD assured us would be its long term vision, Hawaii ups the ante in a few key areas while maintaining the same core.

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Hawaii is built around Shader Engines, of which the R9 290X has four.  Each of these includes 11 CU (compute units) which hold 4 SIMD arrays each.  Doing the quick math brings us to a total stream processor count of 2,816 on the R9 290X. 

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB Graphics Card!!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: ORIGIN PC

Get your wallet ready

While I was preparing for the release of Intel's Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E processors last month ORIGIN PC approached me about a system review based on the new platform.  Of course I rarely pass up the opportunity to spend some time with unreasonably fast PC hardware so I told them to send something over that would impress me. 

This system did.

The ORIGIN PC Millennium custom configuration is one of the flagship offerings from the boutique builder and it will hit your wallet nearly as hard as it will your games and applications.  What kind of hardware do you get for $4200 these days?

  • ORIGIN PC Millennium
  • Intel Core i7-4930K (OC to 4.5 GHz)
  • ASUS Rampage IV Gene mATX motherboard
  • Custom Corsair H100i 240mm water cooler
  • 16GB (4 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 memory
  • 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB SLI
  • 2 x Samsung 840 Pro 128GB SSD (RAID 0)
  • 1TB Western Digital Black HDD
  • Corsair AX1200i power supply
  • Corsair Obsidian 350D case
  • Windows 8

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Our custom build was designed to pack as much processing power into as small a case as possible and I think you'll find that ORIGIN did a bang up job here.  By starting with the Corsair 350D micro ATX chassis yet still including dual graphics cards and an overclocked IVB-E processor, the results are going to impress.

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Continue reading our overview of the ORIGIN PC Millennium custom gaming PC!!

ASUS' Direct CU II works well with GTX 780s

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 5, 2013 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: asus, GTX 780 DC II OC, DirectCU II, gtx 780

With 3GB of memory ASUS' GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC card strays from the pack in terms of features and design.  With new and improved DirectCU II cooling on the card, high quality chokes and 10 phase power you should be able to push far ahead of the factory overclock of 889MHz with a boost of 941MHz.  You can use [H]ard|OCP's result of 1093-1145MHz core and 6.158GHz memory as a goal to try to reach, as long as you are willing to put the power sliders all the way to the right.  Check out how it performs in their full review.

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"ASUS revamped the DirectCU II cooling system and visual style, providing a full non-reference video card with the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DiretCU II OC. New is the hybrid CoolTech fan providing improved airflow, and a 10mm heat pipe. We will see how this video card performs against several GPUs."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #266 - Corsair Air 540 Case, MSI GTX 780 Lightning, hUMA in the PS4, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2013 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: xbox one, video, ps4, podcast, msi, hUMA, hsa, gtx 780, corsair, case, amd, air 540, 780 lightning

PC Perspective Podcast #266 - 08/29/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair Air 540 Case, MSI GTX 780 Lightning, hUMA in the PS4, 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, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:12:24

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Samsung 840 EVO pricing was definitely not kidding!
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

A New TriFrozr Cooler

Graphics cards are by far the most interesting topic we cover at PC Perspective.  Between the battles of NVIDIA and AMD as well as the competition between board partners like EVGA, ASUS, MSI and Galaxy, there is very rarely a moment in time when we don't have a different GPU product of some kind on an active test bed.  Both NVIDIA and AMD release reference cards (for the most part) with each and every new product launch and it then takes some time for board partners to really put their own stamp on the designs.  Other than the figurative stamp that is the sticker on the fan.

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One of the companies that has recently become well known for very custom, non-reference graphics card designs is MSI and the pinnacle of the company's engineering falls into the Lightning brand.  As far back as the MSI GTX 260 Lightning and as recently as the MSI HD 7970 Lightning, these cards have combined unique cooling, custom power design and good amount of over engineering to really produce a card that has few rivals.

Today we are looking at the brand new MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning, a complete revamp of the GTX 780 that was released in May.  Based on the same GK110 GPU as the GTX Titan card, with two fewer SMX units, the GTX 780 easily the second fastest single GPU card on the market.  MSI is hoping to make the enthusiasts even more excited about the card with the Lightning design that brings a brand new TriFrozr cooler, impressive power design and overclocking capabilities that basic users and LN2 junkies can take advantage of.  Just what DO you get for $750 these days?

Continue reading our review of the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning graphics card!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Asus

Plus one GTX 670...

Brand new GPU architectures are typically packaged in reference designs when it comes to power, PCB layout, and cooling.  Once manufacturers get a chance to put out their own designs, then interesting things happen.  The top end products are usually the ones that get the specialized treatment first, because they typically have the larger margins to work with.  Design choices here will eventually trickle down to lower end cards, typically with a price point $20 to $30 more than a reference design.  Companies such as MSI have made this their bread and butter with the Lightning series on top, the Hawk line handling the midrange, and then the hopped up reference designs with better cooling under the Twin Frozr moniker.

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ASUS has been working with their own custom designs for years and years, but it honestly was not until the DirectCU series debuted did we have a well defined product lineup which pushes high end functionality across the entire lineup of products from top to bottom.  Certainly they had custom and unique designs, but things really seemed to crystallize with DirectCU.  I guess that is also the power of a good marketing tool as well.  DirectCU is a well known brand owned by Asus, and users typically know what to expect when looking at a DirectCU product.

Click to read the entire review here!

Does GALAXY’s new GTX 780 belong in The Hall of Fame?

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 15, 2013 - 07:04 PM |
Tagged: galaxy, gtx 780, hall of fame edition, factory overclocked

The GALAXY GTX 780 Hall of Fame Edition is more than just a pretty white PCB, the GPU runs at a Boost Clock of 1.1GHz which is a full 200MHz above stock out of the box, after tweaking [H]ard|OCP managed to get it to 1376MHz but backed off to an even 1.3GHz to enable the RAM to run at 6.3GHz.  When testing at that maximum speed this card could gp head to head with the mighty TITAN and provide the same quality of game play, a rather impressive performance for a less expensive card.  That showing as well as the overall design of the card and unique look helped net the GTX 780 HOF a Gold Award!

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"If you are interested at all in the fastest GeForce GTX 780 video card we’ve seen out-of-the-box yet, then take a look at GALAXY’s GeForce GTX 780 Hall of Fame Edition. You’ll also find the highest overclock ever achieved on a GTX 780 waiting for you with this video card. You don’t want to miss this."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Digital Storm

Haswell and Kepler

With the release of Intel's Haswell core processors and the updated graphics card lineup from NVIDIA, Digital Storm has updated many of their custom PC lines to include both.  A little while ago the company sent along a pre-built Ode system that includes some impressive hardware like an overclocked Core i7-4770K and a GTX 780 along with a Corsair SSD and more.  Even though the design is using fully off-the-shelf parts, the build quality is impressive and will interest many users that want the jump start of a ready made rig.

Our article today (and embedded video) will give you a quick overview of the hardware, the build and the performance that you can expect for this $2500 PC.

  • Digital Storm Ode Custom
  • Intel Core i7-4770K (OC to 4.4 GHz)
  • ASUS Z87-C Motherboard
  • Corsair H100 Water Cooler
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Graphics Card
  • 120GB Corsair Neutron SSD
  • 1TB Western Digital 7200 RPM HDD
  • Corsair HX1050 Power Supply
  • Corsair Graphite 600T White Case

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Current pricing on this build is $2577 from Digital Storm's website and while that is definitely higher than buying the same components out right, the difference shouldn't be enough to scare you off.  More on that later.

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The Ode from Digital Storm is built around the Corsair 600T chassis, an older design that still stands up well in terms of looks and performance.  The only draw back to it is that it does not have an internal USB 3.0 header and thus still uses the external cable to plug into the back of the motherboard.  If you want to see video from 2010 we did of this case, check the way back machine to do so!

A white color scheme really makes this system stand out and the window on the side panel will let everyone gawk at the components included inside.  With plenty of room for fans, radiators and good intake filter support throughout, the 600T remains one of our favorite chassis at PC Perspective.

Continue reading our review of the Digital Storm Ode Custom Gaming PC!!

Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 HOF Hall of Fame brings back the white PCB

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 8, 2013 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: galaxy, gtx 780, gk110, hall of fame

I remember the first time I saw a white PCB - it was on a Soyo motherboard built on a chipset that very few people reading this post today will remember.  Our friends at Galaxy just sent over word that its new GeForce GTX 780 3GB HOF (Hall of Fame) Edition card was now shipping and available at Amazon.com and TigerDirect.com sporting a fantastic looking white PCB!

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As you probably know the GeForce GTX 780 is based on the same GK110 GPU as the GTX TITAN with fewer CUDA cores enabled and with a 3GB frame buffer it is definitely a step above other single-GPU offerings available (except the TITAN obviously).  Even better, the HOF Edition from Galaxy is overclocked to a base clock of 1006 MHz compared to the reference speed of 863 MHz!!  Galaxy claims this is the highest clocked air-cooled GTX 780 in the world!

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You can learn more about the Galaxy GTX 780 HOF Edition over at its website or by heading over to Amazon.com and TigerDirect.com.

Source: Galaxy

ASUS Launches ROG Tytan G70 Pre-Built Gaming Desktop

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2013 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: aus, ASUS ROG, tytan g70, pre-built, gtx 780, haswell

ASUS has announced the Replublic of Gamers Tytan G70 gaming desktop. The updated desktop uses the latest chips from Intel and NVIDIA along with a large transforming case. The system is cooled by an integrated water loop and 10 case fans.

The ROG Tytan G70 is bult using a large dark gray case that has sharp angles and extending side and top panels that automatically extend outwards to expose the six front intake fans and two rear exhaust fans. The chassis measures 530mm x 300 x 630mm and the system with hardware installed weighs about 53 pounds (24kg). The front of the case has sliding panels that allow users to access three 5.25" drive bays. The top panel has a red ROG logo and there are also LEDs below that change from blue to read when the Turbo Gear overclocking is enabled. Finally, the top panel houses a Qi wireless charger which can recharge Qi-supporting smartphones when placed on top of the case.

ASUS Tytan G70 Gaming Desktop PC.jpg

Internal hardware options are extensive, and users can configure the system with some beefy specifications. At the top end, users can get a watercooled Intel Core i7-4770K processor, 32GB of DDR3 RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 780 graphics card, five 3TB 3.5" mechanical hard drives, a 256GB SSD, an ASUS Xonar Phobeus sound card, and 700W power supply. The system supportsSonicMaster and MaxxAudio (from Waves) audio technologies.

The Tytan G70 supports software that automatically overclocks the Core i7-4770K to either 3.9GHz or 4.1GHz for all four cores without needing to reboot the system. When this "Turbo Gear" overclocking is activated, the case panels extend to reveal the various case fans to improve cooling performance.

Oddly enough there is no NVIDIA GTX Titan option for the ROG Tytan though one could add one in after the fact. Pricing has not yet been announced, but the pre-built ROG system should be available soon. Additional information can be found on the ASUS ROG blog.

Source: ASUS