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.

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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. 

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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!!

Forget the ARES II, here's a reference 7990

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2013 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: ARES II, amd, radeon, hd 7990, malta, tahiti

We've seen tests of dual 7970s in CrossFire simulating a 7990 and ASUS released the ARES II which was the closest we had until today with the release of the reference HD 7990.  There are many reviews to chose from when looking at this new flagship card, such as from a pure performance perspective such as [H]ard|OCP's which did not come out well for AMD's new card.  If you are more interested in our new Frame Rating process then there are two reviews to read, one that deals with the 7990 on the publicly available driver and perhaps more interesting is a prototype driver provided to Ryan that is intended to fix Crossfire stuttering on single displays but not for EyeFinity

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"Today marks the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 7990. The Radeon HD 7990 is a dual-GPU video card that has its two GPUs down on a single PCB that uses CrossFire to operate the two Radeon HD 7970 GPUs. We will test this video card in the latest games, comparing it to GeForce GTX 680 SLI and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire. "

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

Graphics Cards

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

The card we have been expecting

Despite all the issues that were brought up with our new graphics performance testing methodology we are calling Frame Rating, there is little debate in the industry that AMD is making noise once again in the graphics field.  From the elaborate marketing and game bundles with all Radeon HD 7000 series cards over the last year to the hiring of Roy Taylor, VP of sales but also the company's most vocal supporter. 

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Along with the marketing though goes plenty of technology and important design wins.  With the dominance of the APU on the console side (Wii U, Playstation 4 and the next Xbox), AMD is making sure that the familiarity with its GPU architecture there pays dividends on the PC side as well.  Developers will be focusing on AMD's graphics hardware for 5-10 years with the console generation and that could result in improved performance and feature support for Radeon graphics for PC gamers. 

Today's release of the Radeon HD 7990 6GB Malta dual-GPU graphics card shows a renewed focus on high-end graphics markets since the release of the Radeon HD 7970 in January of 2012.  And while you may have seen something for sale previously with the HD 7990 name attached, those were custom designs built by partners, not by AMD. 

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Both ASUS and PowerColor currently have high-end dual-Tahiti cards for sale.  The PowerColor HD 7990 Devil 13 used the brand directly but ASUS' ARES II kept away from the name and focused on its own high-end card brands instead. 

The "real" Radeon HD 7990 card was first teased at GDC in March and takes a much less dramatic approach to its design without being less impressive technically.  The card includes a pair of Tahiti, HD 7970-class GPUs on a single PCB with 6GB of total memory.  The raw specifications are listed here:

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Considering there are two HD 7970 GPUs on the HD 7990, the doubling of the major specs shouldn't be surprising though it is a little deceiving.  There are 8.6 billion transistors yes, but there are still 4.3 billion on each GPU.  Yes there are 4096 stream processors but only 2048 on each GPU requiring software GPU scaling to increase performance.  The same goes with texture fill rate, compute performance, memory bandwidth, etc.  The same could be said for all dual-GPU graphics cards though.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon HD 7990 6GB Graphics Card!!

PCPer Live! Bioshock Infinite Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards from AMD!

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 2, 2013 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle reloaded, live, crysis, bioshock infinite, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream...sorry, better luck next time!  However, you can still view the on-demand version below to see the Bioshock Infinite game play!

On April 2nd on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some game action of Bioshock Infinite.  Easily the most well received and reviewed game of the year, I am probably more excited to play this game than other we have stream to date!

We will be teaming up with AMD once again to provide a fun and exciting PCPer Game Stream that includes game demonstrations and of course, prizes and game keys for those that watch the event LIVE! 

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Bioshock Infinite Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - April 2nd

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle Reloaded game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy, you could get some amazing free games including:

  • Radeon HD 7900 Series
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
  • Radeon HD 7800 Series
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
  • Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Set
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
    • FREE Far Cry 3
    • FREE Hitman: Absolution
    • FREE Sleeping Dogs

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Bioshock Infinite Game Stream:

  • 1 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 OC 2GB card
  • 1 x MSI Radeon HD 7870 2GB card
  • 3 x Combo codes for both Tomb Raider AND Bioshock Infinite

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Pretty nice, huh?  All you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on April 2nd for some PC gaming fun!!

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PCPer Live! Tomb Raider Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards from AMD!

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 4, 2013 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: video, tomb raider, tahiti, radeon, never settle reloaded, live, crysis, amd

UPDATE: Missed the live stream?  Relive the incredible experience right here!  

On March 5th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some game action of the new Tomb Raider.  In what might be one of the most impressive game series reboots in history, this iteration of the action-adventure gameplay is definitely the most impressive looking to date.  And don't forget all the hair animation we are likely to see...

We will be teaming up with AMD once again to provide a fun and exciting PCPer Game Stream that includes game demonstrations and of course, prizes and game keys for those that watch the event LIVE! 

UPDATE: We are excited to announce that Crystal Dynamics' Brian Horton, Senior Art Director for Tomb Raider, will be joining us on the PC Perpsective Game Stream to answer questions and to give us more detail on the visual effects at work in the PC version of the game!

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Tomb Raider Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - March 5th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle Reloaded game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy, you could get some amazing free games including:

  • Radeon HD 7900 Series
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
  • Radeon HD 7800 Series
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
  • Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Set
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
    • FREE Far Cry 3
    • FREE Hitman: Absolution
    • FREE Sleeping Dogs

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AMD's Antal Tungler (@ColoredRocks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Tomb Raider Game Stream:

  • 2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 OC 2GB graphics cards (plus Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite)
  • 1 x HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB graphics card (plus Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite)
  • 3 x Combo codes for both Tomb Raider AND Bioshock Infinite

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Pretty nice, huh?  All you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on March 5h for some PC gaming fun!!

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PCPer Live! Crysis 3 Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards from AMD!

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle reloaded, live, Crysis 3, crysis, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can still catch the YouTube replay right here!!

On February 19th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Crysis 3.  If there has ever been a game that defined the world of PC gaming graphics and technology, it is the Crysis series. 

"Sure, but can it play Crysis?"

There is probably no more famous line of dialogue that pigeon hole's new hardware releases. 

With the release of the latest version of Crysis 3 on February 19th, we will be teaming up with AMD once again to provide a fun and exciting PCPer Game Stream that includes game demonstrations and of course, prizes and game keys for those that watch the event LIVE! 

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Crysis 3 Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - February 19th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle Reloaded game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy, you could get some amazing free games including:

  • Radeon HD 7900 Series
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
  • Radeon HD 7800 Series
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
  • Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Set
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
    • FREE Far Cry 3
    • FREE Hitman: Absolution
    • FREE Sleeping Dogs

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Crysis 3 Game Stream:

  • 2 x Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics cards
  • 4 x Combo codes for both Crysis 3 AND Bioshock Infinite

Pretty nice, huh?  All you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on February 19th for some PC gaming fun!!

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PCPer Live! Far Cry 3 Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, far cry 3, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can watch the replay embedded right here!  Tune in to see some Far Cry 3 action as well learn about some of the technology that Ubisoft has included in the title!

On December 4th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Far Cry 3.  Far Cry has long been a franchise that includes great gameplay and never before seen graphics technology and the third installment looks to follow that trend!  Early previews of the game have been very exciting!

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Far Cry 3 Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - December 4th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Far Cry 3 Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

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Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on December 4th for some PC gaming fun!!

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Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

A ton of technology in here

In the world of graphics cards there a lot of also-rans, cards that were released but didn't really leave a mark on the industry.  Reference cards are a dime a dozen (not really, though $0.10 HD 7970s sounds like a great thing to me) and when the only thing vendors can compete on is price it is very hard to make a compelling argument for one card over another.  The ASUS Matrix Platinum HD 7970 that we are looking at today in no way suffers from these problems - it is a custom design with unique features that really give it the ability to stand out from the clogged quarters of the GPU shelf.

As you should expect by now with the ASUS ROG brand, the Matrix HD 7970 not only has a slightly overclocked clock speed on the GPU and memory but also some unique features like VGA Hotwire, TweakIt buttons and more!

ASUS ROG Matrix Design

Before we dive into performance and our experiences in overclocknig the HD 7970 with the ASUS Matrix Platinum we wanted to go over some of the design highlights that make this graphics card unique.  Available in both Matrix and Matrix Platinum (hand picked chips) revisions, this triple-slot design will include a custom built PCB with 20-phase power and quite a bit more. 

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This "exploded" view of the Matrix HD 7970 shows a high-level view of these features with details to follow below.  Some of the features are really aimed at the extreme overclockers that like to get their hands into some LN2 but there is still a lot to offer users that just want to try their hand at getting additional performance through air overclocking. 

ASUS' custom DirectCU II cooler is at work on the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 using all copper heatpipes to help lower temps by 20% compared to the reference HD 7970 while also running quieter thanks to the larger 100mm fans.  These fans can be independently controlled and include the ASUS dust proof fan technology we have seen previously.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 3GB Graphics Card!!

PCPer Live! Hitman: Absolution Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 20, 2012 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, hitman: absolution, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the event last night we have the full replay here for you!  Enjoy!

On November 20th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Hitman: Absolution.  If you have never played a Hitman game before I think PC gamers will love the combination of action and stealth as well as some of the humor you'll find in the assassination attempts. 

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Image from Videogamer.com

Hitman: Absolution Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - November 20th

PC Perspective Live! Page

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as making fun of attempts at effectively offing some fools.

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Hitman: Absolution Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

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Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on the 20th for some PC gaming fun!!

AMD Launches Dual Tahiti FirePro S10000 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 13, 2012 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: tahiti, HPC, gpgpu, firepro s10000, firepro

On Monday, AMD launched its latest graphics card aimed at the server and workstation market. Called the AMD FirePro S10000 (for clarity, that’s FirePro S10,000), it is a dual GPU Tahiti graphics card that offers up some impressive performance numbers.

No, unfortunately, this is not the (at this point) mythical dual-7970 AMD HD 7990 graphics card. Rather, the FirePro S10,000 is essentially two Radeon 7950 GPUs on a single PCB along with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory. Specifications on the card include 3,584 stream processors, a GPU clock speed of 825 MHz, and 6 GB GDDR5 with a total of 480 GB/s of memory bandwidth. That is 1,792 stream processors and 3 GB of memory per GPU. Interestingly, this is a dual slot card with an active cooler. At 375W, a passive cooler is just not possible in a form factor necessary to fit into a server rack. Therefore, AMD has equipped the FirePro S10,000 GPGPU card with a triple fan cooler reminiscant of the setup PowerColor uses on its custom (2x7970) Devil 13, but not as large. The FirePro card has three red fans (shrouded by a black cover) over a heatpipe and aluminum fin heatsink. The card does include display outputs for workstation uses including one DVI and four mini DisplayPort ports.

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AMD is claiming 1.48 TFLOPS in double precision work and 5.91 TFLOPS in single precision workloads. Those are impressive numbers, and the card even manages to beat NVIDIA’s new Tesla K20X with big Kepler GK110 and the company’s dual GPU GK104 Tesla K10 by notable margins. Additionally, the new FirePro S10000 manages to beat its FirePro 9000 predecessor handily. The S9000 in comparison is rated at 0.806 TFLOPS for double precision calculations and 3.23 TFLOPS on single precision work. The S9000 is a single GPU card equivalent to the Radeon 7950 on the consumer side of things with 1,792 shader cores. AMD has essentially taken two S9000 cards and put them on a single PCB, and managed to get almost twice the potential performance without needing twice the power.

Efficiency and calculations per watt were numbers that AMD did not dive too much into, but the company did share that the new FirePro S10000 achieves 3.94 GLOPS/W. AMD compares this to NVIDIA’s dual GPU (Fermi-based) Tesla M2090 at 2.96 GFLOPS/W. Unfortunately, NVIDIA has not shared a single GPU GFLOPS/W rating on its new K20X cards.

  AMD S10000 AMD S9000 NVIDIA K20X NVIDIA K10
Double Precision 1.48 TF 0.806 TF 1.31 TF 0.19 TF
Single Precision 5.91 TF 3.23 TF 3.95 TF 4.58 TF
Architecture Tahiti (x2) Tahiti (x1) GK110 GK104 (x2)
TDP 375W 225W 235W 225W
Memory Bandwidth 480 GB/s 264 GB/s 250 GB/s 320 GB/s
Memory Capacity 6 GB 6 GB 6 GB 8 GB
Stream Processors 3,584 1,792 2,688 3,070
Core clock speed 825 MHz 900 MHz 732 MHz 745 M
MSRP $3,599 $2,499 $3,199 ~$2500

Other features of the AMD FirePro S10000 include support for OpenCL, Microsoft RemoteFX, Direct GPU pass-through, and (shared) virtualized graphics. AMD envisions businesses using these FirePro cards to provide GPU hardware acceleration for virtualized desktops and thin clients. With Xen Server, multiple users are able to tap into the hardware acceleration offered by the FirePro S10000 to speed up desktop and speed up programs that support it.

Operating systems in particular have begun tapping into GPU acceleration to speed up the user interface and run things like the Aero desktop in Windows 7. High end software for workstations also have a high GPU acceleration adoption rate, so there are benefits to be had, and AMD is continuing to offer it with its latest FirePro card.

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AMD is offering up a card that can be used for a mix of compute or graphics output, making them an interesting choice for workstations. The FirePro S10000’s major fault lies with a 375W TDP, and while the peak performance is respectable it is going to use more power while provided that compute muscle.

The cards are available now with an MSRP of $3,599. It is neat to finally see AMD come out with a dual GPU card with Tahiti chips, and it will be interesting to see what kind of design wins the company is able to get for its beastly FirePro S10000.