AMD wants you to know there is a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition for $419

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2013 - 11:33 AM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, hd 7970 ghz edition, HD 7970, never settle

AMD just passed me a note that I found to be very interesting.  In an obvious response to the release of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 that offers the GK104 GPU (previously only in the GTX 680) for a lower price of $399, AMD wants you to know that at least ONE Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition card is priced lower than the others.

sapphire7970ghz.png

The Sapphire Vapor-XHD 7970 GHz Edition is currently listed on Newegg.com for $419, a cool $30 less than the other HD 7970 GHz Edition cards.  This is not a card-wide price drop to $419 though.  AMD had this to say:

In late May I noted that we would be working with our partners to improve channel supply of the AMD Radeon™ HD 7970 GHz Edition to North American resellers like Newegg.com. Today I’m mailing to let you know that this process has begun to bear fruit, with the Sapphire Vapor-X HD 7970 GHz Edition now listing for the AMD SEP of $419 US. Of course, this GPU is also eligible for the Never Settle Reloaded AND Level Up programs!

Improving supply is an ongoing process, of course, but we’re pleased with the initial results of our efforts and hope you might pass word to your readers if you get a chance.

This "ongoing process" might mean that we'll see other partners' card sell for this lower price but it also might not.  In AMD's defense, our testing proves that in single GPU configurations, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition does very well compared to the GTX 770, especially at higher resolutions.

I did ask AMD for some more answers in regards to what other partners think about a competitor getting unique treatment with AMD to offer this lower price unit, but I haven't received an answer yet.  I'll update here when we do!

For today though, if you are looking for a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that also comes with the AMD Never Settle game bundle (Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Tomb Raider), it's hard to go wrong with that $419 option.

Source: Newegg.com
Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Our 4K Testing Methods

You may have recently seen a story and video on PC Perspective about a new TV that made its way into the office.  Of particular interest is the fact that the SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in TV is a 4K television; it has a native resolution of 3840x2160.  For those that are unfamiliar with the new upcoming TV and display standards, 3840x2160 is exactly four times the resolution of current 1080p TVs and displays.  Oh, and this TV only cost us $1300.

seiki5.jpg

In that short preview we validated that both NVIDIA and AMD current generation graphics cards support output to this TV at 3840x2160 using an HDMI cable.  You might be surprised to find that HDMI 1.4 can support 4K resolutions, but it can do so only at 30 Hz (60 Hz 4K TVs won't be available until 2014 most likely), half the refresh rate of most TVs and monitors at 60 Hz.  That doesn't mean we are limited to 30 FPS of performance though, far from it.  As you'll see in our testing on the coming pages we were able to push out much higher frame rates using some very high end graphics solutions.

I should point out that I am not a TV reviewer and I don't claim to be one, so I'll leave the technical merits of the monitor itself to others.  Instead I will only report on my experiences with it while using Windows and playing games - it's pretty freaking awesome.  The only downside I have found in my time with the TV as a gaming monitor thus far is with the 30 Hz refresh rate and Vsync disabled situations.  Because you are seeing fewer screen refreshes over the same amount of time than you would with a 60 Hz panel, all else being equal, you are getting twice as many "frames" of the game being pushed to the monitor each refresh cycle.  This means that the horizontal tearing associated with Vsync will likely be more apparent than it would otherwise. 

4ksizes.png

Image from Digital Trends

I would likely recommend enabling Vsync for a tear-free experience on this TV once you are happy with performance levels, but obviously for our testing we wanted to keep it off to gauge performance of these graphics cards.

Continue reading our results from testing 4K 3840x2160 gaming on high end graphics cards!!

Summary Thus Far

Because of the complexity and sheer amount of data we have gathered using our Frame Rating performance methodology, we are breaking it up into several articles that each feature different GPU comparisons.  Here is the schedule:

Welcome to the second in our intial series of articles focusing on Frame Rating, our new graphics and GPU performance technology that drastically changes how the community looks at single and multi-GPU performance.  In the article we are going to be focusing on a different set of graphics cards, the highest performing single card options on the market including the GeForce GTX 690 4GB dual-GK104 card, the GeForce GTX Titan 6GB GK110-based monster as well as the Radeon HD 7990, though in an emulated form.  The HD 7990 was only recently officially announced by AMD at this years Game Developers Conference but the specifications of that hardware are going to closely match what we have here on the testbed today - a pair of retail Radeon HD 7970s in CrossFire. 

titancard.JPG

Will the GTX Titan look as good in Frame Rating as it did upon its release?

If you are just joining this article series today, you have missed a lot!  If nothing else you should read our initial full release article that details everything about the Frame Rating methodology and why we are making this change to begin with.  In short, we are moving away from using FRAPS for average frame rates or even frame times and instead are using a secondary hardware capture system to record all the frames of our game play as they would be displayed to the gamer, then doing post-process analyzation on that recorded file to measure real world performance.

Because FRAPS measures frame times at a different point in the game pipeline (closer to the game engine) its results can vary dramatically from what is presented to the end user on their display.  Frame Rating solves that problem by recording video through a dual-link DVI capture card that emulates a monitor to the testing system and by simply applying a unique overlay color on each produced frame from the game, we can gather a new kind of information that tells a very unique story.

card1.jpg

The capture card that makes all of this work possible.

I don't want to spend too much time on this part of the story here as I already wrote a solid 16,000 words on the topic in our first article and I think you'll really find the results fascinating.  So, please check out my first article on the topic if you have any questions before diving into these results today!

 

Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E
Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
Memory Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 16GB
Hard Drive OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD
Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB
AMD Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire 3GB
Graphics Drivers AMD: 13.2 beta 7
NVIDIA: 314.07 beta (GTX 690)
NVIDIA: 314.09 beta (GTX TITAN)
Power Supply Corsair AX1200i
Operating System Windows 8 Pro x64

 

On to the results! 

Continue reading our review of the GTX Titan, GTX 690 and HD 7990 using Frame Rating!!

How Games Work

 

Because of the complexity and sheer amount of data we have gathered using our Frame Rating performance methodology, we are breaking it up into several articles that each feature different GPU comparisons.  Here is the schedule:

 

Introduction

The process of testing games and graphics has been evolving even longer than I have been a part of the industry: 14+ years at this point. That transformation in benchmarking has been accelerating for the last 12 months. Typical benchmarks test some hardware against some software and look at the average frame rate which can be achieved. While access to frame time has been around for nearly the full life of FRAPS, it took an article from Scott Wasson at the Tech Report to really get the ball moving and investigate how each frame contributes to the actual user experience. I immediately began research into testing actual performance perceived by the user, including the "microstutter" reported by many in PC gaming, and pondered how we might be able to test for this criteria even more accurately.

The result of that research is being fully unveiled today in what we are calling Frame Rating – a completely new way of measuring and validating gaming performance.

The release of this story for me is like the final stop on a journey that has lasted nearly a complete calendar year.  I began to release bits and pieces of this methodology starting on January 3rd with a video and short article that described our capture hardware and the benefits that directly capturing the output from a graphics card would bring to GPU evaluation.  After returning from CES later in January, I posted another short video and article that showcased some of the captured video and stepping through a recorded file frame by frame to show readers how capture could help us detect and measure stutter and frame time variance. 

card4.jpg

Finally, during the launch of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan graphics card, I released the first results from our Frame Rating system and discussed how certain card combinations, in this case CrossFire against SLI, could drastically differ in perceived frame rates and performance while giving very similar average frame rates.  This article got a lot more attention than the previous entries and that was expected – this method doesn’t attempt to dismiss other testing options but it is going to be pretty disruptive.  I think the remainder of this article will prove that. 

Today we are finally giving you all the details on Frame Rating; how we do it, what we learned and how you should interpret the results that we are providing.  I warn you up front though that this is not an easy discussion and while I am doing my best to explain things completely, there are going to be more questions going forward and I want to see them all!  There is still much to do regarding graphics performance testing, even after Frame Rating becomes more common. We feel that the continued dialogue with readers, game developers and hardware designers is necessary to get it right.

Below is our full video that features the Frame Rating process, some example results and some discussion on what it all means going forward.  I encourage everyone to watch it but you will definitely need the written portion here to fully understand this transition in testing methods.  Subscribe to your YouTube channel if you haven't already!

Continue reading our analysis of the new Frame Rating performance testing methodology!!

AMD Never Settle Sweepstakes Part 3: ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II for FREE!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 10:53 AM |
Tagged: never settle, HD 7970, asus, amd

UPDATE: We have selected a winner for this contest!  If you didn't get an email from me on it, then better luck next time.  We'll have more contests coming up very soon at PC Perspective!!

AMD is really excited about its Never Settle campaign and the bundle packages it has built for the holiday season.  PC gamers looking for an uprade will defintely want to read up on the special promotion but we have another surprise for you as well - A FREE GRAPHICS CARD!

asus7970.jpg

AMD and ASUS are partnering up with PC Perspective to hand out an ASUS HD 7970 DirectCT II graphics card, perfect for gaming on your PC!

Not only do you get the card in this sweet contest but you'll get the same software bundle as if you had purchased them at retail.

neversettlematrix.jpg

That means a 20% off coupon for Medal of Honor Warfighter, a FREE copy of Far Cry 3, a FREE copy of Hitman: Absolution and a FREE copy of Sleeping Dogs! 

What do you have to do to enter to win this hardware?  It couldn't be easier:

  1. Visit your favorite PC Perspective pages like our YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account.  You should subscribe, like and follow us, you know...if you want to.  We'd appreciate it!
  2. Check out the AMD Never Settle page to read up on the bundle and special offers they are running right now!
  3. Leave a comment here on this post!

That's it - we love our fans so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to win some free stuff!  Sorry though, North American readers only on this one!

We will close the contest on Wednesday December 12rd at 1pm EST or so - so get your entries in!  Thanks again for being a fan of PC Perspective, thanks to AMD for the great prizes and stay tuned for MORE contests and giveaways in the coming days!

AMD Offers Impressive Never Settle Bundle with Radeon GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 21, 2012 - 09:00 PM |
Tagged: never settle, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, bundle, amd

AMD has a couple of surprises for gamers today, both using the "Never Settle" branding.  Later this morning you will see an article that looks at a new driver revision - 12.11 beta - that will be published this week (it maybe online already).  Promising performance increases is 20% and more, it should be an interesting discussion.

Another big push for AMD going into the holiday season will be the Never Settle game bundle; a collection of games included with a graphics card purchase unlike you have ever seen before.  And we aren't talking about scrub games here, with the HD 7900 series of cards you'll see Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Medal of Honor Warfighter.

02.jpg

Starting today, if you buy an AMD Radeon HD 7900 series of graphics cards, including the HD 7990, HD 7970 and HD 7950, you will get three full games absolutely free!  Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs to be exact.  Also, you will get a 20% discount on a copy of the new Medal of Honor: Warfighter.  And because I already asked, AMD assures us that this is the ONLY discount on Medal of Honor that will be available this year.

03.jpg

Buyers on tighter budgets aren't going to be left out and if you pick up an HD 7800 series or an HD 7770 GHz Edition (not a 7750), you'll get a free copy of Far Cry 3 as well as the 20% off offer on Medal of Honor. 

And just to mix things up, if you buy a PAIR of Radeon HD 7800s or a pair of HD 7770 GHz Editions AMD will add in a free copy of Hitman.

01.jpg

I realize that not every gamer is interested in every game that is released, but the value of the Never Settle bundle is really unmatched in anything I have seen before.  Valued at $170, the package that you can get by purchasing a Radeon HD 7950 3GB for $299 in theory brings the total out of pocket price of the GPU to $129!! 

As I have mentioned previously, bundles are not a cure-all for performance issues, but they can definitely swing a buyer's decision when the other factors are close.  I think AMD will have a HUGE advantage going into the holiday buying season even though NVIDIA has the Assassin's Creed 3 bundle (with the GTX 650 Ti) and the Borderlands 2 bundle (with the GTX 660 Ti and above). 

See what happens when you have healthy competition in the market?  Gamer's always come out ahead!

Source: AMD
Author:
Manufacturer: Various

PhysX Settings Comparison

Borderlands 2 is a hell of a game; we actually ran a 4+ hour live event on launch day to celebrate its release and played it after our podcast that week as well.  When big PC releases occur we usually like to take a look at performance of the game on a few graphics cards as well to see how NVIDIA and AMD cards stack up.  Interestingly, for this title, PhysX technology was brought up again and NVIDIA was widely pushing it as a great example of implementation of the GPU-accelerated physics engine.

What you may find unique in Borderlands 2 is that the game actually allows you to enabled PhysX features at Low, Medium and High settings, with either NVIDIA or AMD Radeon graphics cards installed in your system.  In past titles, like Batman: Arkham City and Mafia II, PhysX was only able to be enabled (or at least at higher settings) if you had an NVIDIA card.  Many gamers that used AMD cards saw this as a slight and we tended to agree.  But since we could enable it with a Radeon card installed, we were curious to see what the results would be.

screenshot-16.jpg

Of course, don't expect the PhysX effects to be able to utilize the Radeon GPU for acceleration...

Borderlands 2 PhysX Settings Comparison

The first thing we wanted to learn was just how much difference you would see by moving from Low (the lowest setting, there is no "off") to Medium and then to High.  The effects were identical on both AMD and NVIDIA cards and we made a short video here to demonstrate the changes in settings.

Continue reading our article that compares PhysX settings on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs!!

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - July 17th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 02:07 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.

7970ge.jpg

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB

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 GHz Edition 3GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $499

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $429

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $349

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $299

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $124

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

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

In a stunning change of fate, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 has been steadily in stock for the last few weeks but the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that we reviewed on June 24th has yet to show its face.  Yes, you can find HD 7970 cards running at 1000 MHz core clock speeds (and higher) though they don't have the 6.0 Gbps memory speeds nor the "PowerTune with Boost" technology that really set the new version of the GPU apart. 

When asked, AMD told us to expect Sapphire and XFX models in stock early next week - so we'll definitely keep an eye on the online retailers for that. 

The only other changes are some more price drops on the AMD side.  You can now get a standard HD 7970 for $80 less than the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7950 for $50 less than the GTX 670.  AMD knows that with NVIDIA's great branding and marketing they needed to make a case for their GPUs over the competition and these types of price cuts really give gamers two great options for their gaming dollar.

We are still waiting on NVIDIA's answer for sub-$399 GPUs based on Kepler - hopefully we won't be waiting long.

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

Live Review Recap: AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 08:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, HD 7970, hd 7970 ghz edition, 7970, 7970 ghz edition, video, live review

A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

On the day of the release of AMD's latest flagship graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, Evan Groenke (Desktop Graphics Product Manager) stopped by the PC Perspective offices to sit with us and talk about the new GPU.  In the live event we went over the company's stance and mindset with the release, the new boost capability that the card integrates, performance from our review and even some questions and answers with some giveaways.

I really want to thank AMD and Evan for stopping by and chatting with us and our readers.  Be sure you keep checking back at http://pcper.com/live for more live events you can be a part of!

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - June 20th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2012 - 04:27 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.

stockcheck20120620.png

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 3GB

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 $449

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $369

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $319

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239

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 - In Stock
Starting at $1049

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

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

I think it is official, the GeForce GTX 680 has been in stock for more than two weeks in a row and we believe that this is a trend we see continuing through the summer.  Hell, we even found a single GTX 690 in stock from ASUS!

AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $449 / $369 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution and yet another $10 price drop.  The fact that the Radeon HD 7970 is now down to $449 and is $50 less than the GTX 680 makes it a compelling solution for gamers yet again.

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