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Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 15, 2013 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: UNIGINE, valley benchmark
Move over Heaven, there is an uncanny new benchmark in town from UNIGINE called Valley, which takes your GPU on a journey to Siberia and forces it to labour on wide open spaces with full DX11 scenery.
Valley Benchmark is a new GPU stress-testing tool from the developers of the very popular and highly acclaimed Heaven Benchmark. The forest-covered valley surrounded by vast mountains amazes with its scale from a bird's-eye view and is extremely detailed down to every leaf and flower petal. This non-synthetic benchmark powered by the state-of-the art UNIGINE Engine showcases a comprehensive set of cutting-edge graphics technologies with a dynamic environment and fully interactive modes available to the end user.
Editions of Valley Benchmark
Alongside a completely free Basic edition, Valley Benchmark provides in-depth performance reviews in the Advanced and Pro editions for hardware manufacturers, graphics driver developers, industry professionals and all individuals involved with video card stability testing.
Targeted mainly towards overclockers and hardware reviewers, the Advanced Edition allows for stress-testing under different conditions and thorough reports outputted into a flexible format.
The Advanced Edition exclusive features:
- Command line automation for full control over run tests S
- tress testing mode (benchmark looping)
- Highly customizable reports in CSV format
The Professional Edition is a comprehensive benchmarking tool for hardware manufacturers and graphics driver developers as it is bestowed with the complexity of top-level gaming technology.
The Professional Edition exclusive features include:
- Licensed for commercial use (for one PC, site licensing option is available on request)
- Command line automation for full control over run tests Stress testing mode (benchmark looping)
- Highly customizable reports in CSV format Per-frame deep analysis
- Rendering of a specified frame Software rendering mode in DirectX 11 for reference purposes Technical support
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2013 - 05:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: galaxy, GTX 660 GC, factory overclocked, nvidia
For those unable or unwilling to spend over $200 on a GPU, the non-Ti Galaxy GTX 660 GC comes with a nice factory overclock of 6GHz on its 2GB of RAM and a core of 1006MHz with a boost of 1074MHz as well as a custom dual fan cooler. You are not going to be maxing out Crysis 3 with it, at this level of power perhaps online gaming is the way to go in which case NVIDIA's new bundle of in game currency might make a lot of sense for you. [H]ard|OCP tested it against the similarly priced HD7850 as well as the slightly more expensive HD7870. In the tests the 660 GC beat the HD7850 by enough that it is not really worth your consideration and traded wins with the slightly more expensive HD7870. In this particular case it might be the bundle that decides you, do you want in game currency or free full games?
"GALAXY has a factory overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 complete with a custom cooler. Today, we have it on our test bench to run against an AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and an AMD Radeon HD 7850 to see which is the go-to card at the $200 price point now in the latest games with the latest drivers."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- GeForce GTX 660 Graphics Cards Roundup @ X-bit Labs
- Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards @ iXBT Labs
- Arctic Accelero Hybrid VGA Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- 3DMark 2013 review: 52 graphic cards tested with the new benchmarks @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon Gallium3D Starting To Out-Run Catalyst In Some Cases @ Phoronix
- Workstation Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- A Trio from HIS: 7970 IceQ X² GHz Edition, 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock and 7850 IceQ Turbo X Graphics Cards @ X-bit Labs
- Club 3D Radeon HD 7990 6GB @ Hardware.info
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 11, 2013 - 12:33 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: world of tanks, planetside 2, nvidia, Hawken, gtx, geforce, bundle
AMD has definitely been winning the "game" of game bundles and bonus content with graphics cards purchases, as is evident from the recent Never Settle Reloaded campaign that includes titles like Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider. I made comments that NVIDIA was falling behind and may even start to look like they have moved away from a focus on PC gamers since they hadn't made any reply over the last year...
After losing a bidding war with AMD over Crysis 3, today NVIDIA is unveiling a bundle campaign that attack at a different angle; rather than including in bundled games NVIDIA is working free-to-play titles. How do you give gamers bonuses by including free to play games? Credits! Cold hard cash!
Starting today if you pick up any GeForce GTX graphics card you'll be eligible to get free in-game credit to use in one of the three free-to-play titles partnering with NVIDIA. A GTX 650 or GTX 650 Ti will net you $25 in each for a total bonus of $75 while buying a GTX 660 or higher, all the way up to the GTX 690 results in $50 per game for a total of $150.
Also, after asking NVIDIA about it, this is a PER CARD bundle so if you get an SLI pair of anything, you'll get double the credit. A pair of GeForce GTX 660s for an SLI rig results in $100 per game, $300 total!
This is a very interesting approach that NVIDIA has decided to take and I am eager to get feedback from our readers on the differences between AMD's and NVIDIA's bundles. I have played quite a bit of Planetside 2 and definitely enjoyed it; it is a graphics showcase as well with huge and expansive levels and hundreds of people per server. World of Tanks and Hawken I am less familiar with but they also are extremely popular.
Leave us your comments below! Do you think NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX gaming bundle for free-to-play game credits can be successful!
If you are looking for a new GeForce GTX card today and this bundle convinced you to buy, feel free to use the links below.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 8, 2013 - 10:03 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon
In a report first spotted by Rage3D from source website 4gamer.net, news is filtering out that AMD may in fact have no new discrete graphics card releases for the remainder of 2013! While talking with the APAC media about the fantastic Never Settle Reloaded game bundle, they showed THIS slide.
That seems to indicate that at the very least through the 3rd quarter of 2013, AMD has no plans to update or add to its discrete graphics card roadmap. We had heard whispers of this fact while at CES in January but this pretty much puts a cap on it. And with the wording of "throughout 2013" it could indicate we won't see new product until 2014.
Also shown, this product comparison between AMD and NVIDIA, put together by AMD, is a bit lopsided and less than 100% accurate in my eyes. With the release of the new 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark AMD has a distinct advantage and it seems the slide here is based completely on that....blech.
Regardless, what does it mean if AMD actually has no new discrete, enthusiast class cards for 2013? We know the rumors are swirling about the NVIDIA GeForce Titan based on the GK110 and sporting 2688 CUDA cores and it will likely take the place as the fastest single GPU card on the market. AMD has been depending on its partners to build multi-GPU options based on Southern Islands like the ASUS ARES II and Powercolor Devil 13 but they have been pretty low volume. Our original review of the HD 7970 launched in December 2011....this could be quite a drought.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | February 4, 2013 - 06:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: msi, 3dmark
Do you have a beastly system with MSI parts, intense overclocking knowledge, and a desire for even more high-end parts? In honor of the new 3DMark's release, the motherboard and graphics card manufacturer is letting users of their parts enter in a contest for the highest 3DMark scores.
In a partnership with the benchmarking leaderboard site, HWBot, MSI wants to see top scores for the Fire Strike test on the newly released 3DMark. The contest will run until March 3rd for entries looking to post top ranks. Beyond that, anyone with an MSI Z77 motherboard who enters before February 10th will be entered in a “Lucky Draw” for the MSI Z77A-GD55 Motherboard.
Winners of the leader contest will receive the MSI R7970 Lightning Boost Edition card for first place and an MSI Z77A-GD80 for second place. Note that we are not affiliated with this contest, we just think that our readers might like to know.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 02:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tomb raider, never settle reloaded, never settle, Crysis 3, bundle, bioshock infinite, bioshock, amd
You might remember over the holiday season of 2012 that AMD had a simply amazing bundle of games to entice PC gamers to choose purchasing Radeon graphics cards instead of GeForce. That bundle included Medal of Honor, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3. We were stoked to see that kind of comittment to the gamer and even did a set of three game streams with AMD on each games' release.
Well after a behind-the-scenes battle that was finally decided just about two weeks ago, AMD is ready to announce the "Never Settle Reloaded" bundle that might actually be MORE impressive based on the games included.
First up is the reboot of Tomb Raider, a fresh look at the Lara Croft character that I got to get hands on at an event in Toronto last year. Due out on March 5th, the visuals in this game are damn good.
Bioshock infinite is the third game in the acclaimed series and has a few DirectCompute additions to the game engine code. Release is set on March 26th.
DMC Devil May Cry is included for the APAC region (instead of Tomb Raider).
And the biggest name in the bundle is no doubt Crysis 3 - a game that many PC gamers have been looking forward to and one that promises to push gaming performance on high-end GPUs to their limits. I was playing this on a GTX 680 recently (the MP beta) and couldn't get more than 40 FPS at 1080p and Ultra settings.
So how doese the bundle break down?
If you buy a single Radeon HD 7970 or HD 7950 you'll be able to get keys for both Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite, completely free! HD 7800 series buyers will get both Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider.
Just to make things MORE interesting, if you invest in a set of HD 7900 cards for CrossFire, or even a dual-GPU HD 7900 card like the Devil 13, you'll get Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs. That is 6 full PC games worth at least $300 that you'll get keys for just for picking AMD's Radeon cards over NVIDIA's GeForce.
A not-so-subtle jab at the competition...
So there you have it, the Never Settle Reloaded bundle. This iteration doesn't include anything for HD 7700 series cards but I think most enthusiasts are going to stay in the HD 7850 and above range of options anyway.
NVIDIA has definitely fallen behind when it comes to these kinds of deals for PC gamers and I want to know what YOU think - do these bundles affect your purchasing decision? We heard from AMD that at least one major reseller of PC hardware saw an "order of magnitude" increase in sales during the holiday season with the original Never Settle bundle and they even won a Newegg award for best marketing campaign.
Get ready for game streams again as well - we'll be hosting a few of them in February and March with more hardware and game keys to give away!
UPDATE: These deals are live right now! You can find a list of the HD 7970 cards at Newegg.com, starting at just $379 and even the HD 7950 cards starting at $295 that come with Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite keys! If you are looking more in the HD 7800 series range, you can find HD 7870s starting at just $209 with Bioshock and Tomb Raider keys!
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 03:29 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gpus, gaming, Futuremark, benchmarking, 3dmark
Futuremark, developers of the popular 3DMark and PCMark computer hardware benchmarks has announced an official release date for the next version of 3DMark. The company has teased gamers and reviewers with screenshots as well as hinted that the name would no longer have the release year tacked onto the end of the name, but now the benchmark is finally official.
The new 3DMark will come in several different flavors aimed at Windows PCs, iOS, Android, and Windows RT devices. It will continue the trend of offline benchmarking and scoring paired with a web interface where users can see detailed benchmark run analysis.
The new 3DMark benchmark will include feature tests, a DX10 benchmark called Cloud Gate, and a DX11 benchmark called Fire Strike. Once the benchmark has completed, users will be able to dig into the web interface to access charts and graphs that cover the benchmarking runs from beginning to end. The graphs will track CPU clockspeed and utilization as well as temperatures for both the processor and graphics card(s).
On the mobile side of things, 3DMark will use a graphics test called Ice Storm that is more suited to ARM SoCs with integrated graphics processors. No DX11 goodness here, obviously.
The PC version of 3DMark will be available for download on February 4, 2013 at 18:00 UTC. Unfortunately, there is no official release dates for the mobile versions. Futuremark has indicated that they will be released over the next few weeks as they are finalized.
You can find more information on the next 3DMark benchmark on the Futuremark website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2013 - 08:04 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, amd, graphics drivers, gpu, Crysis 3, catalyst
The Crysis 3 beta was launched January 29th, and AMD came prepared with its new Catalyst 13.2 beta driver. In addition to the improvements rolled into the Catalyst 13.1 WHQL graphics driver, Catalyst 13.2 beta features performance improvements in a number of games.
Foremost, AMD focused on optimizing the drivers for the Crysis 3 beta. With the new 13.2 beta drivers, gamers will see a 15% performance improvement in Crysis 3 when using high MSAA settings. AMD has also committed itself to future tweaks to improve Crysis 3 performance when using both single and CrossFire graphics configurations. The driver also allows for a 10% improvement in CrossFire performance in Crytek’s Crysis 2 and a 50% performance boost in DMC: Devil May Cry when running a single AMD GPU. Reportedly, the new beta driver also reduces latency issues in Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Finally, the 13.2 beta driver resolves a texture filtering issue when running DirectX 9.0c games.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 29, 2013 - 02:53 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, live, Crysis 3
Did you miss our live stream tonight? Check out the replay right here and watch as I get totally demolished in online multiplayer Crysis 3 action!
Looking for something to do tonight? Why not join us for some early play time of the upcoming Crysis 3? We are going to be live streaming some beta multiplayer action on our PC Perspective Live! page starting at 6pm ET.
Crysis 3 Game Stream
3pm PT / 6pm ET - January 29th
If would like to join in on the fun, be sure to install the beta before hand and take a look at the tutorial on the beta modes available (video below).
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 28, 2013 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ROG ARES II, asus, amd
The new ASUS ROG ARES II sports two HD7970 cores at 1100MHz, faster than reference, as well as a total of 6GB of VRAM also overclocked at a speed of 6.6GHz. In previous dual GPU and single PCB solutions we often see the cores running slower than reference but in this case thanks to the custom self contained liquid cooler this card breaks that trend. With four full-sized DisplayPort, one single-link DVI and one dual-link DVI port you can support up to six displays off of this one card. [H]ard|OCP were blown away by the performance of the card and equally impressed with the cooler, especially when they added the extra fan and overclocked the card. Unfortunately you won't be seeing a lot of them, there will be only 1,000 of these video cards sold, and only 100 of those in North America.
"ASUS is launching its latest flagship ROG series video card, the ASUS ROG ARES II. This beast takes two Radeon HD 7970 GHz GPUs and provides CrossFire performance in a dual-slot configuration with unique custom closed-loop external cooling. This powerful limited edition video card is a born overclocker!"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ASUS ROG ARES II @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS Ares II @ Hardware.info
- ASUS ARES II Dual HD 7970
- ASUS ROG ARES II 6144 MB @ techPowerUp
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT @ Tweaktown
- Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital SE External Multi-Display Adapter Review @ OCC
- VGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 2GB @ techPowerUp
- GeForce GTX 650 Ti Graphics Cards Roundup @ X-bit Labs
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | January 23, 2013 - 02:42 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: southern islands, sony, ps4, playstation 4, orbis, Kaveri, bulldozer, APU, amd
Earlier today a report from Kotaku.com posted some details about the upcoming PlayStation console, code named Orbis and sometimes just called the PS4. Kotaku author Luke Plunkett got the information from a 90 page PDF that details the development kit so the information is likely pretty accurate if incomplete. It discusses a new controller and a completely new accounts system but I was mostly interested in the hardware details given.
We'll begin with the specs. And before we go any further, know that these are current specs for a PS4 development kit, not the final retail console itself. So while the general gist of the things you see here may be similar to what makes it into the actual commercial hardware, there's every chance some—if not all of it—changes, if only slightly.
This is key to keep in mind because here are the specs listed on the report:
- 8GB of system memory
- 2.2GB of graphics memory
- 4 module (8 core) AMD Bulldozer CPU
- AMD "R10xx" based GPU
- 4x USB 3.0 ports and 2x Ethernet connections
- Blu-ray drive
- 160GB HDD
- HDMI and optical audio output
We are essentially talking about an AMD FX-series processor with a Southern Islands based discrete card and I am nearly 100% sure that this will not match the configuration of the shipping system. Think about it - would a console developer really want to have a processor that can draw more than 100 watts inside its box in addition to a discrete GPU? I doubt it.
Instead, let's go with the idea that this developer kit is simply meant to emulate some final specifications. More than likely we are looking at an APU solution that combines Bulldozer or Steamroller cores along with GCN-based GPU SIMD arrays. The most likely candidate is Kaveri, a 28nm based product that meets both of those requirements. Josh recently discussed the future with Kaveri in a post during CES, worth checking out. AMD has told us several times that Kaveri should be able to hit the 1.0 TFLOPs level of performance and if we compare to the current discrete GPUs would enable graphics performance similar to that of an under-clocked Radeon HD 7770.
There is some room for doubt though - Kaveri isn't supposed to be out until "late Q4" though its possible that the PS4 will be the first customer. It is also possible that AMD is making a specific discrete GPU for implementation on the PS4 based on the GCN architecture that would be faster than the graphics performance expected on the Kaveri APU.
When speaking with our own Josh Walrath on this rumor, he tended to think that Sony and AMD would not use an APU but would rather combine a separate CPU and GPU on a single substrate, allowing for better yields than a combined APU part. In order to make up for the slower memory controller interface (on substrate is not as fast as on-die) AMD might again utilize backside cache, just like the one used on the Xbox 360 today. With process technology improvements its not unthinkable to see that jump to 30 or 40MB of cache.
With the debate of a 2013 or 2014 release still up in the air, there is plenty of time for this to change still but we will likely know for sure after our next trip to Taipei.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 03:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, asus, GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB, sli
When they first tried ASUS' new GTX 670 Direct CU II with 4GB of memory on its own, [H]ard|OCP had difficulty recommending it over a 7970 but they planned to try two cards in SLI to see if that would improve the comparative performance. The competitors are a pair of 2GB 670s, a pair of 3GB HD7970's, a pair of 2GB 680s and of course two 4GB 670s, all powering a system at 5760x1200. Unfortunately the quote from the conclusions spells out the results "It's like putting beefy off-road tires on a Yugo", so while it will give you the ability to use some higher graphics settings, overall you are still better of with HD7970s or GTX680s.
"We review two ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB video cards in SLI under NV Surround resolutions. We'll answer the question as to the value and validity of 4GB of RAM on a GeForce GTX 670 GPU video card in SLI. Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, and all our other games will be taken to the extreme to get to the bottom of 4GB GTX 670 cards."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia Quadro K5000 Professional @ X-bit Labs
- Five-Way NVIDIA GeForce Comparison On Nouveau @ Phoronix
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison @ TechARP
- Sapphire TRIXX Video Card Tweak Utility Overview @ Tweaktown
- IS Radeon HD 7970 3GB IceQ X2 Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- VTX3D HD 7870 Black Edition 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS HD 7970 IceQ X² & HD 7950 IceQ X² Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Sapphire HD7870 W/ Boost @ Kitguru
- PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB PCS Overclocked @ Tweaktown
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 02:44 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, gk110, titan, rumor
A combination of rumors and news pieces found online and in some recent conversations with partners indicates that February will see the release of a new super-high-end graphics card from NVIDIA based on the GK110 GPU. Apparently using the name "Titan" based on a report from Sweclockers.com, this new single GPU card will feature 2688 CUDA cores, compared to the 1536 in the GeForce GTX 680.
If true, the name Titan likely refers to the Cray super computer of the same name built using GK110 Kepler Tesla cards. Sweclockers.com's sources are quoted with the clocks of this new super-GPU as well: 732 MHz core clock and 5.2 GHz GDDR5 memory clock. While those numbers are low compared to the 1000+ MHz speeds of the GK104 parts out today, this GPU would have 75% more compute units and presumably additional memory capacity as well. The memory bus width of 384-bits is a 50% increase as well which would indicate another big jump in performance over current cards. The CUDA core count of 2688 is actually indicative of a GK110 GPU with a single SMX disabled as well.
The NVIDIA Titan card will apparently be the replacement for the GeForce GTX 690, a dual-GK104 card launched in May of last year. The performance estimate for the Titan is approximately 85% of that GTX 690 and if the rumors are right it would see an $899 price tag.
Based on other conversations I have had recently you should only expect those same partners that were able to sell the GTX 690 to stock this new GK110-based part. There won't be any modifications and you will see very little differentiation between vendors branding on it. If dates are to be believed, we are hearing that a Feb 25th (or at least that week) launch is the current target.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 01:02 PM | PCPer Staff
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition (PC/Mac) for $59.99 with free shipping (normally $80 - use coupon code: EMCXWVV99).
HP ENVY 4-1130us Core i5 14" Ultrabook (Quickship) for $549.99 with free shipping (normally $849.99 - use coupon code: SNOW100).
Dell S2740L 27" 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $278.99 with Free Shipping (normally $370 - use coupon code: DMFVW8?GQ27MDX).
55" LG 55LM4600 1080p 3D 120Hz LED HDTV for $849.99 with free shipping (normally $1,400).
46" Seiki SE461TS 1080p LCD HDTV for $398.00 (normally $500).
Pioneer SW-8 100-Watt Powered Subwoofer for $69.99 with free shipping (normally $160 - use coupon code: EMCXWVV75).
Zadro Personal Sunlight 365 Therapy for $59.99 plus free shipping(normally $77.99).
Shure Craft Kit (6 options) via Groupon for $8.00(normally $19.99).
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 19, 2013 - 01:26 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooler, sealed loop, ROG ARES II, gpu cooler, asus, amd, 7970 ghz edition
ASUS has taken the wraps off of a new dual GPU graphics card that comes equipped with a sealed loop liquid cooler to keep the two overclocked 7970 GHz Edition GPUs frosty. The new ROG ARES II is a limited edition card that pairs the ARES II GPU with an Asetek-based cooler and rounds out the top-end of the company’s Republic of Gamers lineup.
The card itself features two AMD Radeon 7970 GHz Edition GPUs clocked at 1050 MHz base and 1100 MHz boost, 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1650 MHz, and ASUS’ DIGI+ 20-phase VRM with “Super Alloy Power” hardware. The ROG ARES II has a 500W TDP and uses three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. The card measures 11.8” x 5.5” x1.8,” not including the radiator.
The ROG ARES II includes one DVI-I, one DVI-D, and four DisplayPort video outputs. ASUS is also packing a DVI to HDMI adapter in the box.
The sealed loop water cooler is where the card sets itself apart, however. Based on an Asetek design, the ARES II water cooler features a 120mm radiator, and two CPU-style water blocks over each 7970 GHz Edition GPU. The loop runs from the radiator and through both water blocks before returning to the radiator which is paired with two 120mm fans. Curiously, the water cooler did not result in a single-slot design. Rather, the ARES II card has a somewhat-bulky two slot profile. According to ASUS, the water cooled card will run up to 31 degrees Celsius cooler than the reference NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card while being as much as 13% faster (though ASUS does not specifically name the games/benchmarks).
ASUS has not released any pricing or availability information, but you can expect it to rival the price of PowerColor’s Devil 13 thanks to the sealed loop water cooler and ARES II hardware. Currently, ASUS is planning on producing a mere 1,000 liquid cooled ARES II cards, so be prepared to be fast on the mouse click upon release.
I would have liked to see a water cooler that was a bit more customized to the card. In particular, I think ASUS should have used a single water block that covered both GPUS and the VRM area, which would have allowed ASUS to get rid of the fan on the card itself entirely. Nevertheless, the ARES II will be extremely fast, and hopefully run nice and cool even when overclocked. I’m interested in seeing a head-to-head between the ARES II and PowerColor Devil 13.
Read more about AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture at PC Perspective.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2013 - 11:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, gpu, drivers, catalyst 13.1, amd
AMD recently released a new set of Catalyst graphics card drivers with Catalyst 13.1. The new drivers are WHQL (Microsoft certified) and incorporate all of the fixes contained in the 12.11 beta 11 drivers. The Radeon HD 7000 series will see the majority of the performance and stability tweaks with 13.1. Additionally, the Catalyst 13.1 suite includes a new 3D settings interface in Catalyst Control Center that allows per-application profile management. The Linux version of the Catalyst 13.1 drivers now officially support Ubuntu 12.10 as well.
Some of the notable performance tweaks for the HD 7000 series include:
- CrossFire scaling performance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II improvements.
- Up to a 25% increase in Far Cry 3 when using 8X MSAA.
- An 8% performance increase in Sleeping Dogs and StarCraft II.
- A 5% improvement in Max Payne 3.
Beyond the performance increases, AMD has fixes several bugs with the latest drivers. Some of the noteworthy fixes include:
- Fixed a system hang on X58 and X79 chipset-based systems using HD 7000-series GPUs.
- Fixed an intermittent hang with HD 7000-series GPUs in CrossFireX and Eyefinity configurations.
- Resolved a system hang in Dishonored on 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards.
- Resolved a video issue with WMP Classic Home Cinema.
- Added Super Sample Anti-Aliasing support in the OpenGL driver.
AMD has also released a new standalone un-installation utility that will reportedly clean your system of AMD graphics card drivers to make way for newer versions. That utility can be downloaded here.
If you have a Radeon HD 7000-series card, it would be worth it to update your drivers ASAP. You can download the Catalyst 13.1 drivers on the AMD website.
You can find a full list of the performance tweaks and bug fixes in the Catalyst 13.1 release notes.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 16, 2013 - 01:10 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: stolen, nvidia, legal, Lawsuit, console, amd
Things might get interesting for a little while between AMD and NVIDIA again as a complaint has been filed by AMD accusing recently converted NVIDIA employee's of downloading and stealing 100,000 documents on the way out AMD's door.
The company alleges that Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, and Nicolas Kociuk collectively downloaded over 100,000 files onto external hard drives in the six months before leaving the company. All three and another manager, Richard Hagen, were accused of recruiting AMD employees after leaving for Nvidia.
The most senior of these employees is Robert Feldstein who was acting as the VP of Strategic Development at AMD before leaving for NVIDIA and was responsible for getting AMD inside the Nintendo Wii U as well as the upcoming Xbox and Playstation consoles due out this year. To say that "stealing" Feldstein was a big win for NVIDIA would seem like a bad pun now with the accusations on the table, but there, we said it.
After looking at the former employees computers AMD found that "Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access." And since Feldstein and Hagan were responsible for the recruitment of those former AMD employees, they were breaking the "no-solicitation of employees" agreement made before departure.
Obviously AMD hasn't come out with exactly what is in those 100,000 documents they accuse of being stolen, but the company is hoping that the US District Court in Massachusetts will help them recover the incriminating documents with a restraining order for all four current employees of NVIDIA forcing them to retain all current AMD-related documents.
The unfortunate part of this for AMD is that if the document leak is true, the damage has likely already been done and they will have to sue for damages down the road. NVIDA could be in for a world of hurt if the court finds that they were actively requesting those documents from the the four named in the complaint.
If you want to read all the legal source for this complaint, you can find it right here.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 12, 2013 - 12:02 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, hd graphics, haswell, geforce, dirt 3, ces 2013, CES, 650m
While wandering around the Intel booth we were offered a demo of the graphics performance of the upcoming Haswell processor, due out in the middle of 2013. One of the big changes on this architecture will be another jump up in graphics performance, even more than we saw going from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge.
On the left is the Intel Haswell system and on the right is a mobile system powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M. For reference, that discrete GPU has 384 cores and a 128-bit memory bus so we aren't talking about flagship performance here. Haswell GT3 graphics is rumored to have double the performance of the GT2 found in Ivy Bridge based on talks at IDF this past September.
While I am not able to report the benchmark results, I can tell you what I "saw" in my viewing. First, the Haswell graphics loaded the game up more slowly than the NVIDIA card. That isn't a big deal really and could change with driver updates closer to launch, but it is was a lingering problem we have seen with Intel HD graphics over the years.
During the actual benchmark run, both looked great while running at 1080p and High quality presets. I did notice during part of the loading of the level, the Haswell system seemed to "stutter" a bit and was a little less fluid in the animation. I did NOT notice that during the actually benchmark gameplay though.
I also inquired with Intel's graphics team about how dedicated they were to providing updated graphics drivers for HD graphics users. They were defensive about their current output saying they have released quarterly drivers since the Sandy Bridge release but that perhaps they should be more vocal about it (I agree). While I tried to get some kind of formal commitment from them going forward to monthly releases with game support added within X number of days, they weren't willing to do that quite yet.
If AMD and NVIDIA discrete notebook (and low cost desktop) graphics divisions are to push an edge, game support and frequent updates are going to be the best place to start. Still, seeing Intel continue to push forward on the path of improved processor graphics is great if they can follow through for gamers!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2013 - 11:38 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: series2, ray tracing, imagination, ces 2013, CES, caustic
We have talked with Caustic on several occassions over the past couple of years about their desire to build a ray tracing accelerator. Back in April of 2009 we first met with Caustic, learning who they were and what the goals of the company were; we saw early models of the CausticOne and CausticTwo and a demonstration of the capabilities of the hardware and software model.
While at CES this year we found the group at a new place - the Imagination Technologies booth - having been acquired since we last talked. Now named the Caustic Series2 OpenRL accelerator boards, we are looking at fully integrated ASICs rather than demonstration FPGAs.
This is the Caustic 2500 and it will retail for $1495 and includes a pair of the RT2 chips and 16GB of memory. One of the benefits of the Caustic technology is that while you need a lot of memory, you do not need expensive, fast memory like GDDR5 used in today's graphics cards. By utilizing DDR2 memory Imagination is able to put a whopping 16GB on the 2500 model.
A key benefit of the Caustic ray tracing accelerators comes with the simply software integration. You can see above that a AutoDesk Maya 2013 is utilizing the Caustic Visualizer as a simple viewport into the project just as you would use with any other RT or preview rendering technique. The viewport software is also available for 3ds max.
There is a lower cost version of the hardware, the Caustic 2100, that uses a single chip and has half the memory for a $795 price tag. They are shipping this month and we are interested to see how quickly, and how eager developers are, to utilize this technology.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 11, 2013 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, asus, GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB
In addition to the custom cooler on the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II, there is also 4GB of RAM which is double the usual serving for a GTX 670 and should help its performance at high resolutions. The core and RAM remain at stock speeds, [H]ard|OCP tweaked the GPU up 185MHz and the RAM by 175MHz so there is some room for overclockers to play with this card. This time around [H] only tested single display performance and were disappointed with the performance when they compared it to the similarly priced HD 7970 but keep your eyes open as they will be testing SLI multi-monitor performance in the near future.
"Today we have an ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB video card up for review. Although there is no factory overclock, the video card supports 4GB of memory compared to the default 2GB. We will focus on single display performance in our revamped game lineup that includes Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti Power Edition Review @ Neoseeker
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- HIS Radeon HD 7750 1GB IceQ X Turbo @ Tweaktown
- AMD Richland A10 6800k Vs Haswell GT3 – graphics performance analysed @ Kitguru
- PowerColor PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition Review @ OCC
- HIS Radeon HD 7970 6GB IceQ X2 @ Tweaktown
- HD7990 Quadfire tested: crash happy @ Kitguru
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