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.

brokedozer.jpg

"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."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

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.  

14.jpg

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:

bf3scaling1-1920.jpg

bf3scaling1-1920-bar.jpg

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.

bf3scaling2-1920.jpg

bf3scaling2-1920-bar.jpg

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.

bf3sli1-1920.jpg

bf3sli1-1920-bar.jpg

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.

h_550ti.jpg

"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. "

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PDXLAN Gears up with sponsors and gamers

Subject: Editorial, Shows and Expos | July 16, 2011 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: sli, sapphire, pdxlan, pdx, nvidia, msi, amd

If you are a PC gaming and live near or around the Portland, OR area you are familiar with the concept of PDXLAN - one of the most popular (but still cool and underground) LAN events in the country.  The primary event is going on this weekend and I am here to both game and take a look at what the sponsors are showing off. 

pdx01.jpg

MSI has a lot of stuff going on including a look at the latest version of the Afterburner overclocking tool, the 3GB version of the GTX 580 Lightning (that Josh is currently working on a review of) and even a NVIDIA Surround based Dirt 3 sim seat.

pdx02.jpg

Gaming laptops are still taking off here in the US and MSI has a couple on display including a HUGE 18-in mode (on the right) with a keyboard that lights up with various colors of LEDs, configurable.  

pdx03.jpg

The Sapphire guys are here as well and are showing off much of what AMD for gamers including Eyefinity configurations like the very popular 5x1 portrait mode.  This is something that only AMD offers currently and in this demo we were looking at Dragon Age II.  It was definitely grabbing some attention!

pdx04.jpg

Showing that AMD's HD3D technology does indeed have legs Sapphire was showing off the new Samsung SyncMaster SA950 that has a nice external design.  I am going to spend some more time with it today to see how it performs, so check back for more!

pdx05.jpg

If you are here, you can also find me getting butt kicked at various games.  This is the machine I'll be on, a Maingear built GTX 580 SLI right with an overclocked Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor and 30-in display.  I know, it sucks to be me, but someone has to sacrifice and play on it, right?

More from PDXLAN later today!

Source: PCPer

Revisiting quad-gpus and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: quad sli, quad crossfire, sli, crossfire, nvidia, amd

With SLI and CrossFire we all hoped to see direct scaling so that a quad GPU setup would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4x better than a single GPU.  That has proven to be incorrect, not only is the scaling nowhere near that it has been discovered that in some cases going beyond 2 GPUs can actually reduce performance.  

As the hardware and drivers evolve, it is worth revisiting the scaling performance of both AMD and NVIDIA which is why [H]ard|OCP grabbed two GeForce GTX 590s and two AMD Radeon HD 6990s, both dual GPU cards.  In three of the five games tested they ran into at least one issue, a strike right off the bat.  Read on to see how they rate the value of the two manufacturers based on the performance they saw once they'd resolved the problems.

H_quad.gif

"How does NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 SLI Quad-GPU compare to AMD's Radeon HD 6990 CrossFireX Quad-GPU? We will find out if these "if-money-didn't-matter dream video card setups" will deliver the gameplay experience we all expect."

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

Click Here to go to Video Cards   Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Tri-Fire/SLI redux, look at the difference SandyBridge makes!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 6, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: tri-fire, crossfire, sli, triple, sandybridge

Not too long ago [H]ard|OCP examined the price to performance ratio between a triple SLI GTX580 system and a Tri-Fire HD6990 and HD6970 and discovered that as far as value goes, NVIDIA could not touch AMD.  A reader of theirs inquired if it was the aging Core i7-920 that was holding the cards back even with the overclock of 3.6GHz.  A SandyBridge system with a Core i7-2600K and an ASUS board with the NF200 bridge chip was used to revisit the performance of the two vendors GPUs.  The result; we can hardly wait for the Z68 boards to come out!

H_Proof.gif

"We have re-tested performance between GTX 580 3-Way SLI and Radeon HD 6990+6970 Tri-Fire with a brand new Sandy Bridge 4.8GHz system. Our readers wanted to know if the CPU speed would improve performance and open up the potential of this triple-GPU performance beasts. To put it succinctly, they were right. The results completely turn the tables upside down and then some."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Which is better, three heads from NVIDIA or three from AMD

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 2, 2011 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: tri-fire, triple, crossfilre, 3-way, sli, GTX580, HD6990, HD6970

[H]ard|OCP just finished a review that most enthusiasts would sell their souls ... or at least cash in their retirement savings ... to do themselves.  They decided to find out which was better, a $1500 triple GTX 580 system or a $1100 HD 6990 + HD 6970 system.  The findings are really quite clear, as is th efact that scaling has improved to the point where dropping that third GPU into your PC actually does make some sense to do.

H_trifire.gif

"We've seen what a Radeon HD 6990 can do when paired with a Radeon HD 6970 for "Tri-Fire" performance. Now it is time to find out what three NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 video cards in 3-Way SLI game like in comparison. We will look at A2A performance comparisons and discuss which setup offers the best gameplay experience."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets to get NVIDIA SLI Support

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Chipsets | April 28, 2011 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: sli, nvidia, amd, 990x, 990fx, 970

In a move that is long overdue, NVIDIA's Tom Peteresen announced on a blog post that SLI multi-GPU support was finally going to be offered on AMD platforms with the upcoming launch of the AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets.  On previous AMD platforms users have not been able to use multiple NVIDIA graphics cards in SLI because NVIDIA simply did not allow licensing of the technology on them.  As of this month, that policy is changing.

amdsli2.png

According to the post, NVIDIA has had a change of heart and wants to "make sure gamers can benefit from the new CPU competitive landscape and ensure they have NVIDIA SLI – the highest performance, most stable multi-GPU solution - to game on!"  The lack of SLI on previous chipsets was the result of Intel being the dominate CPU platform of choice for gamers in recent years. 

ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, and MSI are going to be the first out of the block with motherboard based on the AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets with SLI support according to NVIDIA's Petersen. 

amdsli.png

This doesn't change NVIDIA's stance on the whole licensing and charging motherboard vendors to integrate SLI thing, however.  In an ideal world, NVIDIA would have announced that they were opening up SLI to work on ANY motherboard, future or present, that has enough PCI Express slots on them, just like we see today with AMD's own CrossFire technology.  Despite pressure to do that, NVIDIA is standing by its current formula and expanding into the realm of AMD chipsets.  

Regardless, today is a good day for AMD fans and gamers alike that want more choice and more variety in their system build options for the future.  The AMD Llano and Bulldozer-based processors just got a little more gaming friendly.

Source: NVIDIA