Max Payne 3 at Max resolution

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2012 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: max payne 3, crossfire, sli, gtx680, HD 7970, gaming

For the tests they ran, [H]ard|OCP used the latest Catalyst beta, 12.6 and ForceWare 301.42 WHQL as both drivers proved able to provide proper multi-GPU performance on Max Payne 3.  In AMD's case it provided improvements to single card gaming as well.  The games graphics options provide a nice tool which displays how much VRAM your configuration will require so that you can get an idea if your card will be able to handle the settings before you even play the game.  SLI did scale better than Crossfire but even still, both multi GPU rigs could handle the max settings at 2560x1600 and when used singly could still sit around the 60fps mark.  Check out the full review here.

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"HardOCP is on top of Max Payne 3 to find out what graphics options it supports and how a GTX 680 and a Radeon HD 7970 perform. We also wanted to know if SLI and CrossFireX worked, and how performance scales. In this preview of performance and image quality we take a look at all of this in the first chapter of this game."

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Gaming

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The GTX 670 and the Case of the Missing (and Returning) 4-Way SLI Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 11, 2012 - 04:57 PM |
Tagged: sli, nvidia, kepler, gtx 670, GK104, geforce

In our launch review of the GeForce GTX 670 2GB graphics card this week, we had initially mentioned that these $399 graphics cards would support SLI, 3-Way SLI and even 4-Way SLI configurations thanks to the pair of SLI connections on the PCB.  We received an update from NVIDIA later on that day that in fact it would NOT support 4-Way SLI.

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The message from NVIDIA was pretty clear cut:

"As I’m sure you can imagine, we have to QA every feature that we claim support for and this takes a tremendous amount of time/resources. For the GTX 680 and GTX 690, we do support Quad SLI and take the time to QA it, as it makes sense for the extreme OC’ers and ultra-enthusiasts who are shooting to break world records."

My reply:

But with the similarities between the GTX 680 and the GTX 670, is there really any QA addition required to enable quad for 670? Seems like a cop-out to me man...

I saw it mostly as a reason to differentiate the GTX 670 and the GTX 680 with a feature since the performance between the cards was very similar; maybe too similar for NVIDIA's tastes with the $100 price difference.  

Well this afternoon we received some good news from our contact at NVIDIA:

"Change in plans.....we will be offering 4-Way SLI support for GTX 670 in a future driver."

So while the 301.34 driver will not support 4-Way configurations with the GTX 670, 4-Way SLI will in fact be enabled after all in a future version.  We'll be sure to keep you in the loop when that happens and the super-extreme enthusiasts can rejoice.  

This does go to show that the fundamental differences between AMD's license-free and seemingly more "open" CrossFire technology and NVIDIA's for-fee SLI technology.  With enough feedback and prodding in the right direction, NVIDIA can and does do the right thing, just look at the success we had convincing them to support SLI on AMD CPU platforms last year.  

Feet to the fire everyone!

Three way graphical insanity

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 25, 2012 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: asus, P8P67 WS Revolution, sli, crossfilre, triple sli, tri-fire

[H]ard|OCP has assembled a review of the two best GPUs on the planet, in triplicate.  It got off to a rough start as there is a serious issue with the last several Catalyst drivers, preventing you from using EyeFinity on Tri-Fire systems so they needed to revert to the release candidate that appeared back in January.  The NVIDIA machine was easier to configure, once they realized that for triple surround they had to stay to one monitor per card.  The PCIe lanes were provided by the ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution, which allowed these cards to really show off their stuff.  Make sure you check out the power consumption page, you may be very surprised at how little power the GTX680s needed to run.

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"What do you get when you install three GeForce GTX 680 cards for 3-Way SLI and then three Radeon HD 7970 cards for Tri-Fire? You get insanely fast gaming performance and a gameplay experience that begs to be compared delivered by both. We find out which multi-display configuration is better for gaming in Eyefinity and NV Surround."

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Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The only thing better than an in stock GTX 680 would be two of them

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 29, 2012 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: sli, nvidia, gtx 680

The name of the game in [H]ard|OCP's latest review is scaling at 5760 x 1200, specifically the scaling of two GTX 680s in SLI as well as a pair of HD 7970s in Crossfire.  Some games like Mass Effect 3 will not benefit much as the difference between 150fps and 170fps will be hard to do but others such as Battlefield 3 and Arkham City stress these cards somewhat at this resolution, but even 50fps is rather impressive when pushing about 7 million pixels.  Read on and be prepared to feel a little jealous, maybe jealous enough to snatch up a Galaxy model which is back in stock. (didn't last 2 minutes)

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"We've got two GeForce GTX 680 video cards to test SLI performance against Radeon HD 7970 CrossFireX. Will these less expensive GTX 680 video cards offer a better gameplay experience or choke at high resolutions due to a smaller VRAM footprint? We will prove to you which solution offers better efficiency and performance."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

GTX 680 insanity! SLI, Triple SLI, and Quad SLI

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 23, 2012 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: sli, quad sli, gtx 680

With an Intel Core i7 3960X, 16GB of DDR3, an ASUS Rampage IV Formula motherboard and an Enermax Platimax 1500W PSU, Hardware.Info took four GTX 680s and started benchmarking.  Of course, that means more than one monitor so these benchmarks are at 5760x1080 and due to the new architecture some games were not quite sure what to do with the extra graphics cards.  Some games like Metro 2033 were not able to provide significant scaling at high resolutions but then again Crysis 2 had no idea what to do with three HD 7970s which makes it hard to determine a clear winner between three HD 7970s and four GTX 680s.  The benchmark results offer results we've never seen, with over 80fps from the NVIDIA cards on Crysis 2 and 130fps on Skyrim.  The end result is that apart from games which seem to need updating, the scaling of the GTX 680 is impressive and it pulls less power than the HD 7970s.

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"We just published a comprehensive GeForce GTX 680 4-way SLI review on Hardware.Info. Since we are the first to extensively test a Quad-SLI configuration of nVidia's brand new GeForce GTX 680, we wanted to make these exciting results available to a wider audience and created an English version of the article."

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

Graphics Cards

 

NVIDIA SLI Breaks EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win and X79 Combinations

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 16, 2011 - 04:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, sli, evga, GTX 560 Ti, 2win

Sometimes, the best intentions fumble out of the gates.  When we reviewed the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win graphics card in November, I gave it a glowing review as a product that offered better performance than the GTX 580 while selling at a very similar price (currently just $20 more).  My test configuration at the time included an X58 motherboard based on the Nehalem architecture that has been tried and tested over the years.

For the forthcoming review of the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, we decided to move our GPU test bed to the new X79-based Sandy Bridge-E platform since it was the new hotness and because it continued to be the best option for multi-GPU configurations going forward.  Or so we thought.

While preparing for our review, I was configuring our NVIDIA cards due for re-testing on this platform and brought the GTX 560 Ti 2Win out from the back room.  However, no matter which driver I used, I was unable to enable SLI on it and running a quick performance test confirmed we were running in a single GPU configuration.  We used driver versions from the 285.xx stack as well as the 290.xx stack - all with the same results.

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Both GPUs were enabled and would show up in the Windows Device Manager AND inside the NVIDIA control panel.  However, the standard SLI configuration switch was nowhere to be found.  We only had the ability to select enabling PhysX on different the GPUs...

After a quick talk with both NVIDIA and EVGA we confirmed this to be a bug with the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win and the X79 platform as a whole.  Why?  Apparanetly a driver fix is in the works - it is all simply a software issue.  A new version is "coming soon" though no specific dates were given.  If you have one of these cards and upgraded to an X79 motherboard, we apologize for you only being able to utilize half of your investment.

Which brings me back to my consistent stance - NVIDIA's SLI Technology would be better served as an openly available multi-GPU solution without the restrictions of licensing and software hacks.  Why?  The money that NVIDIA makes on the licensing is pretty minimal and the only goal is to uphold the "value" of the SLI brand.  Instead, everytime a hiccup like this occurs, more gamers decide that the benefits aren't worth the potential hassle owning multiple graphics cards may cause.  

CrossFireX doesn't have nearly the marketing push behind it that SLI does yet it continues to have legs without the rather outdated partner licensing restrictions.  Every multiple PCIe slot motherboard (essentially) will support CrossFireX - users that might want SLI configurations need to look for that damn logo on the box...

Puget Systems will build you a Sandy Bridge E system

Subject: Systems | December 6, 2011 - 05:37 PM |
Tagged: x79, Sandy Bridge E, puget systems, i7-3960x, GTX580, sli

If you want to get your hands on a pre-built Sandy Bridge E system you could do worse than the Puget Systems Deluge.  You get the Core i7-3960X on an ASUS Sabertooth X79 with 32GB of 1500MHz Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR3, a pair of EVGA GTX580s and both an Intel 510 250GB SSD and a 2TB WD Caviar Black for storage.  The whole system is cooled with a custom watercooler with a 360mm radiator and will only cost $7,254.  The system does give you enough power to game in NVIDIA Surround with decent frame rates, but AnandTech is of the opinion that this system is perhaps a bit too powerful.  So much of the capability of this system is not utilized by even the most demanding of games, and what is needed can be duplicated with parts that have a much smaller price tag.  However if you need the bragging rights then this system is for you.

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"It's been a little while since we've had a Puget Systems desktop in, and so far we haven't yet tested any of their big dog gaming machines. Everything else we've tested, we've liked, but what happens when the fine folks over at Puget Systems pull out all the stops and put together a high end gaming machine? The answer: the Deluge, an X79-based rig in a modified Antec P183, employing a custom liquid-cooling loop. It's big, powerful, and expensive. Did Puget Systems hit another custom out of the park, and is Sandy Bridge-E the enthusiast platform we were waiting for?"

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Systems

 

Source: AnandTech

See what happens when you harness three GPUs to a Bulldozer and try to get them to pull it along

Subject: Processors | November 9, 2011 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, sli, FX 8150, GTX580

In a good mood?  If so, do not read this [H]ard|OCP article on Bulldozer's gaming performance when coupled with two and three GTX580s.  By using an SLI setup you can see just how powerful a CPU is as it tries to keep up with the GPUs and as you might expect the Bulldozer is not up to the task.  In most tests [H] saw a 70% performance difference between the FX 8150 and the Core-i5 2500K, with both processors clocked at 4.8GHz.  In a very few tests the results were a little closer but this is bad news for AMD, especially when you consider it is the more expensive of the two chips.

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"We are taking the new AMD FX-8150 and giving it the power of Dual and Triple-SLI GeForce GTX 580 video cards. We are going to take the new CPU up to large NV Surround resolutions and see how performance stacks up when it comes to high-end gaming scenarios."

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Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Battlefield 3 (BF3) Beta Performance: Quality Preset and SLI Scaling

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 1, 2011 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: sli, gtx 570, gtx 460, bf3, battlefield 3

I know, we've been talking a lot about Battlefield 3 this week, but I have yet another set of numbers and results that I think you guys will want to see.  Previously, all of our BF3 benchmarks have been run under the Ultra quality presets but it is obvious that not all GPUs or gamers are going to want to target the highest settings the game can accomplish.  With that in mind I decided to test a couple of cards at Ultra, High, Medium and Low presets in order to guage how well the game scaled based on image quality.

For this round I wanted to use a high end card as well as an older, much more popular (and currently low cost) card; the result is tests on the GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB and the GeForce GTX 460 1GB reference platforms.  We used the Operation Metro map and the initial outdoor section for our testing as it was the most strenuous in the beta thus far.  

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As a side note, if you want to see how the image quality actually changes from the Ultra, High, Medium and Low presets, check out this page of my previous performance article that included screenshots and even some animated GIFs as demonstration.

Here are the results:

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On the more powerful GTX 570 you can see that BF3 scales pretty well from the Ultra settings through the Low options in even steps.  By moving from Ultra down to High a gamer would see about 34% better performance and 22% better minimum frame rates.  The jump to Medium gains another 41% while the move to Low gets another 25% on top of that.  The gap between Low and Ultra is about ~2.3x.

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The GTX 460 sees similar levels of performance grades though the move from Ultra to High only gains you about 28% and averages of 33.8 FPS or so.  I would still consider that on the low side of a good game play experience and thus the move to Medium (which is 82% faster than Ultra) seems like the sweet spot for BF3.  

I know we also had some requests for SLI scaling performance and, in particular, with the GTX 460 1GB cards.  Since this card has been so incredibly popular we thought this would be the perfect candidate for the "SLI Upgrade Path" option and you can pick one up for $150 (or less with rebates).  Let's see how well Battlefield 3 scales with multiple GPUs.

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At the Ultra quality settings we saw a 60% scaling capability by adding in a second GTX 460 at stock speeds while at High settings we see that rate increases to 84%!  That is pretty impressive and for the cost investment of a second GPU it looks like you are going to see better than average scaling.  Considering this is with the first driver release and with a beta version of the game, I can only see multi-GPU scaling rates going up as the full retail release hits.

With these results and some others we have done through the week we are ready to put together our Battlefield 3 system build guide.  Stay tuned!

Source: PCPer

Can two overclocked GTX 550 Ti's beat the competition?

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2011 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx550 ti, msi, sli, N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II

If you put a limit of $300 on your graphics subsystem, you are most likely shopping for an HD6950 or possibly a heavily overclocked GTX 560 Ti or a discounted GTX570.  [H]ard|OCP tested out a different choice, two of MSI's N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II card in SLI, which can also be had for under $300.   The testing did not go so well for NVIDIA's less powerful card, the HD6950 won in almost every test and consumed less energy doing so.  There were certain situations in which they would recommend running the cards in SLI, specifically when you already own a GTX 550 or other lower powered NVIDIA card and don't plan on playing at resolutions above 1920x1200.  Only then would this upgrade make sense.

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"Packing a GeForce GTX 550 Ti GPU each, we have a pair of N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II video cards that we are going to evaluate against a Radeon HD 6950, GeForce GTX 570 and even an overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti. At a total cost of only $260 we will find out if this dual-GTX 550 Ti action has what it takes to compete. "

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP