Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

What does $399 buy these days?

I think it is pretty safe to say that MSI makes some pretty nice stuff when it comes to video cards. Their previous generation of the HD 6000 and GTX 500 series of cards were quite popular, and we reviewed more than a handful here. That generation of cards really seemed to stake MSI’s reputation as one of the top video card vendors in the industry in terms of quality, features, and cooling innovation. Now we are moving onto a new generation of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the challenges of keeping up MSI’s reputation seem to have increased.

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The competition has become much more aggressive as of late. Asus has some unique solutions, and companies such as XFX have stepped up their designs to challenge the best of the industry. MSI has found themselves to be in a much more crowded space with upgraded cooler designs, robust feature sets, and pricing that reflects the larger selection of products that fit such niches. The question here is if MSI’s design methodology for non-reference cards is up to the challenge.

Previously I was able to review the R7970 Lightning from MSI, and it was an impressive card. I had some initial teething problems with that particular model, but a BIOS flash later and some elbow grease allowed it to work as advertised. Today I am looking at the R7950 TwinFrozr3GD5/OC. This card looks to feature a reference PCB combined with a Twin Frozr III cooling solution. I was not entirely sure what to expect with this card, since the Lightning was such a challenge at first.

Click to read the entire article.

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - May 30th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2012 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

gtx680_galaxy.jpg

NVIDIA's highest end offering, the GTX 690

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $469

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $389

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $539

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

This week we have some good news!  For two full days (in a row!) NVIDIA has had GTX 680 SKUs in stock at Newegg.com.  The only downside is that two available at the time of this writing (EVGA Superclocked+ and Zotac AMP!) are priced a bit higher thanks to their overclock settings.  The EVGA part has a base clock of 1058 MHz while the Zotac has an impressive 1098 MHz base clock compared to the reference speed of 1006 MHz.  As of this post you can find the EVGA model for $539 and the Zotac option for $549.  We are almost at the point to offering up these cards in our leaderboard...  Gasp!

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AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $469 / $389 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution.   

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - May 23rd, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 23, 2012 - 05:43 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

04.jpg

NVIDIA's highest end offering, the GTX 690

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $469

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $389

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - No Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

In short, nearly two weeks later, nothing has changed.  For NVIDIA neither the GeForce GTX 690 can be found nor can the GTX 680 - a card that launched more than two full months ago.  To say we are disappointed in the capability for NVIDIA to keep up their end of the bargain would be an understatement and explains why we STILL have not used the GTX 680 card in our Hardware Leaderboard!!  The GTX 670 remains in stock though with four models available at Newegg including an overclocked MSI model for hte $399 MSRP.  Considering this might be our new favorite GPU, that is good news at least. 

AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $469 / $389 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution.   

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Author:
Manufacturer: XFX

XFX Throws into the Midrange Ring

Who is this XFX? This is a brand that I have not dealt with in a long time. In fact, the last time I had an XFX card was some five years ago, and it was in the form of the GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition. This was a pretty awesome card for the time, and it seemed to last forever in terms of performance and features in the new DX 10 world that was 2007/2008. This was a heavily overclocked card, and it would get really loud during gaming sessions. I can honestly say though that this particular card was troublefree and well built.

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XFX has not always had a great reputation though, and the company has gone through some very interesting twists and turns over the years. XFX is a subsidiary of Pine Technologies. Initially XFX dealt strictly with NVIDIA based products, but a few years back when the graphics market became really tight, NVIDIA dropped several manufacturers and focused their attention on the bigger partners. Among the victims of this tightening were BFG Technologies and XFX. Unlike BFG, XFX was able to negotiate successfully with AMD to transition their product lineup to Radeon products. Since then XFX has been very aggressive in pursuing unique designs based on these AMD products. While previous generation designs did not step far from the reference products, this latest generation is a big step forward for XFX.

Click to continue reading the entire review.

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - May 10th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2012 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and today's new release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

02.JPG

NVIDIA's latest offering, the GeForce GTX 670

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $479

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - No Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

It is launch day for the GTX 670 and those seem to be pretty widely available for the time being.  As great a card as it is though, I am hesitant to think it will remain in stock through the end of the day based on past experiences with the GTX 600 cards.  Still, the GTX 680 is MIA and the few times I have seen it in stock it only lasts a couple of hours.  

AMD is still doing fine on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $479 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution.   

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: AMD

Get Out the Microscope

AMD announced their Q1 2012 earnings last week, which turned out better than the previous numbers suggested. The bad news is that they posted a net loss of $590 million. That does sound pretty bad considering that their gross revenue was $1.59 billion, but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Of course, there are thoughts of “those spendthrift executives are burying AMD again”, but this is not the case. The loss lays squarely on the GLOBALFOUNDRIES equity and wafer agreements that have totally been retooled.

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To get a good idea of where AMD stands in Q1, and for the rest of this year, we need to see how all these numbers actually get sorted out. Gross revenue is down 6% from the quarter before, which is expected due to seasonal pressures. This is right in line with Intel’s seasonal downturn, and in ways AMD was affected slightly less than their larger competitor. They are down around 2% from last year’s quarter, and part of that can be attributed to the continuing hard drive shortage that continued to affect the previous quarter.

The biggest news of the quarter was that AMD is no longer constrained by 32 nm availability. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was able to produce as many 32 nm parts for AMD as needed with yields continuously improving over the past two quarters. AMD seems very comfortable about where they are at in terms of yields and availability for both Bulldozer and Llano based product lines. AMD has in fact been ramping production of the upcoming Trinity based processor and has been shipping finished products to customers since mid Q1. They have also started shipping Brazos 2.0 parts to customers, and both Trinity and Brazos will be launched in mid Q2 of this year.
 
The CPU/APU World According to AMD
 
The mobile area has been one of tremendous growth for AMD and Q1 saw 100% of all mobile shipments be APU products (both Llano and Brazos 1.0). AMD is very bullish about Trinity. They say that it offers around 50% more performance at the same TDP as the earlier Llano based processors. This 50% is a combination of both CPU and GPU performance, so do not expect massive jumps in CPU performance alone from current Llano based products at those TDPs. The big jump does appear to be in graphics, and AMD is certainly more than willing to hang their hat on that portion. With the latest Ivy Bridge IGPs still not able to match last year’s Llano, AMD feels that Trinity will truly leave Intel behind in terms of overall graphics performance. Trinity features a totally redesigned graphics portion which combines the VLIW4 architecture of the HD 6900 series with aspects of the new 7000 series of products.
 

Radeon HD 7870 2GB vs HD 7850 2GB vs HD 5870 1GB Quick Look

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 6, 2012 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: radeon, pitcairn, hd 7870, hd 7850, amd, 7870, 7850

After the launch of our Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 review this week, I got a couple of emails asking for another data point around the Radeon HD 5800 cards that many users might be looking to upgrade from.  Well, since everyone asked so nicely and I felt bad for not including it in the first place, I decided to quickly throw a HD 5870 1GB card on the test bed and run some 3DMark11 action.

gpuz.png

Using the same hardware test bed as the other graphics cards, we ran the HD 5870 1GB using the 12.2 pre-certified driver, the same we used on the rest of our non-7000 series Radeon cards.  Here are the results.

3dm11-p.png

3dm11-x.png

How does this compare to the new Pitcairn GPUs?

  • 3DMark11 Performance Preset
  • HD 5870 1GB: 4832
  • HD 7870 2GB: 6601 (+36%)
  • HD 7850 2GB: 5497 (+13%)
     
  • 3DMark11 Extreme Preset
  • HD 5870 1GB: 1649
  • HD 7870 2GB: 2058 (+25%)
  • HD 7850 2GB: 1645 (+0%)

It looks like with just this simple glance, the HD 7870 2GB card would be the only upgrade worth really stretching towards based on performance alone.  There are definitely going to be cases where the 2GB frame buffer will help over the 1GB included in most HD 5870/5850 cards including Eyefinity and titles like Battlefield 3, so even if you go with the HD 7850 card you should see some gains. 

All New MSI R7800 Twin Frozr Series Runs up to 15˚C Cooler and 9dB Quieter

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: msi, hd 7850, hd 7870, Twin Frozr

(Industry, CA) Leading international mainboard and graphics card maker MSI today officially announced the launch of R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC and R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC, two new graphics cards equipped with AMD's latest 28nm HD 7800 GPU. The R7800 series features the exclusive Twin Frozr III cooling design that is equipped with MSI's Propeller Blade technology - patented in several countries – for 20% more cooling than conventional fans. Combined with MSI's SuperPipe technology and large cooling fins, the R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC core temperature is 15°C lower than reference boards and fan noise is reduced by 9dB* in full load. The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC supports GPU voltage adjustment technology to boost overclocking potential by up to 20%** when used with MSI's exclusive Afterburner overclocking utility. Gamers can now unleash the full potential of their graphics card for gaming and multimedia applications.

MSI_pitcairn.jpg

Advanced Twin Frozr III Design Runs 15˚C Cooler and 9dB Quieter than Reference Boards
The MSI R7870/R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC features the Twin Frozr III cooling module that has won popular acclaim from media around the world. The proprietary Propeller Blade technology has been patented in multiple countries and features special airflow channels on the edge of the fan blades to increase airflow by 20% compared to conventional designs and reduce noise as well! Under full load, the GPU core of the R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card is 15˚C lower than the reference design and operating noise is reduced by 9dB to less than 30dB. This combination of outright performance and ultra-quiet operation is proof that MSI products can provide gaming enthusiasts with the coolest and quietest user experience!

MSI's Exclusive Afterburner Core Voltage Adjustment Technology
The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card supports GPU core voltage adjustment technology that can be used with the popular Afterburner overclocking utility to boost overclocking potential by 20%. The ability to push the graphics card to its limits reinforces MSI's excellence in software and hardware customization, making MSI the first choice of overclocking enthusiasts. In addition to overclocking, Afterburner also supports advanced fan speed control, custom overclocking settings, Predator audio/video capture and Kombustor burn-in testing. Most exciting of all is that gamers can download the Afterburner APP for Android or iOS operating systems to perform overclocking, remote monitoring and fan speed control in real-time from their handheld devices.

PCI Express Gen 3 Graphics Card with 28nm GPU
The MSI R7800 family is equipped with AMD's latest 28nm GPU that offers greater performance and processing power than the previous generation, while reducing power consumption. The MSI R7800 series graphics cards support thePCI Express Gen 3 standard, which when combined with a compatible CPU and mainboard, double bandwidth to a staggering 32GB/s for delivering the ultimate in gaming performance.

Supports Next Generation AV Ports and AMD Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology
MSI R7800 graphics cards provide DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a outputs that support 3D video, 7.1 channel lossless TrueHD video and DTS-HD audio, as well as supporting AMD's proprietary Eyefinity multiple display technology. The support for next-generation audio-video standards makes the MSI R7800 family the best choice for professionals and gamers.

Source: MSI

Pitcairn is finally here, low on power and high on performance per dollar

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 5, 2012 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, radeon, pitcairn, hd 7870, hd 7850, amd, 7870, 7850

To give the end of the story away at the beginning, sometime around March 19th you should be able to find an HD 7870 for about $350 and an HD 7850 for around $250.   The HD 7870 not only costs less than the 6970 it consumes less power and can outperform it, making the HD 7870 the more attractive of the two cards.  [H]ard|OCP was less impressed with the HD7850 as it costs about $40 more than a GTX 560 Ti but only performs a small amount better.  It does consume a lot less power than the NVIDIA card though, which can be a big deal for some users and hints at possible overclocking potential. 

Ryan had a slightly better experience with the HD 7850, which might attract those who cannot justify spending over $300 on a graphics card but still want multi-monitor functionality.

H_7870.jpg

"AMD is introducing the performance mainstream Radeon HD 7870 and Radeon HD 7850 today. We'll look at performance compared to the competition and talk about pricing and explore value. If you are in the market for a video card between $249 and $349 these video cards will likely need to be on your short list."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Completing the Family

When we went to Austin, Texas to sit with AMD and learn about the Radeon HD 7900 series of cards for the first time, an interesting thing happened.  While the official meeting was about the performance of the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950, when things started to settle several AMD employees couldn't help but discuss Cape Verde (7700-series) and Pitcairn (7800-series) GPUs.  In particular, the HD 7800 cards were generating a lot of excitement internally as a spiritual follow up to the wildly successful HD 5800 and HD 5700 series of cards in terms of price and performance characteristics. 

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So while the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 are being labeled as the world's fastest GPUs, and the Radeon HD 7700 is the fastest GPU for everyone, the HD 7800s are where many of our readers will look when upgrading their machines while staying within a budget.  

Be sure to check out our video review posted here and then continue on to our full, written review for all the benchmarks and analysis!!!

Continue reading our review of the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 Graphics Cards!!