CES 2013: Caustic, now part of Imagination, Shows Series2 Ray Tracing Accelerators

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2013 - 11:38 AM |
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. 

caustic1.jpg

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.

caustic2.jpg

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.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

ASUS doubles down the RAM on their latest GTX 670

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 11, 2013 - 01:20 PM |
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.

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"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:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

CES 2013 Video: Gigabyte Shows 4K Display Support and Thin Mini-ITX Boards

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Displays, Systems | January 9, 2013 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: video, thunderbolt, thin itx, mini ITX, ces 2013, CES, 4k

One of our final stops at CES this year was to visit with our friends at Gigabyte to see what they had to show off.  Right off the bat we found an impressive 4K display configuration with four 1080p monitors.  Running off of Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UP5TH dual-Thunderbolt motherboard, each of the ports was split using a Lenovo adapter, each connecting to a pair of the monitors on the quad-display stand.  The result is a stunning 3840x2160 display configuration running completely off of the Intel HD 4000 graphics and the Core i7 processor.

Colin also showed us Gigabyte's push into the world of DIY and OEM All-in-One designs with a couple of motherboards based on the thin mini-ITX standard.  These boards are the same X/Y dimensions with a lower Z-height and very specific layout rules so that enclosures, cooling and components can be standardized. 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2013 Video: NVIDIA GRID Cloud Gaming Technology

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: video, nvidia, grid, cloud gaming, ces 2013, CES

Despite all the excitement about the NVIDIA Shield handheld gaming device at CES, the company was also heavily promoting its GRID Cloud Gaming Technology, marking another company that is promosing "game everywhere on everything".  NVIDIA's claims of lower latency thanks to rendering and encoding on the same GPU have really yet to be verified as the hands-on demos they had at the show were running on local servers (not exactly a real-world test...).

NVIDIA isn't planning on releasing a self-branded service to the public but instead wants to sell servers to ISPs and service providers to increase density (more games per server) and performance.  There are no current cloud gaming companies using GRID technology so it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer to see it's true capabilities.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2013: The Verge Interviews Gave Newell for Steam Box. Valve's Director Hints Post-Kepler GPUs Can Be Virtualized!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 11:11 PM |
Tagged: valve, gaben, Gabe Newell, ces 2013, CES

So the internet has been in a roar about The Steam Box and it probably will eclipse Project Shield as topic of CES 2013. The Verge scored an interview to converse about the hardware future of the company and got more than he asked for.

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Now if only he would have discussed potential launch titles.

Wow! That *is* a beautiful knife collection.

The point which stuck with me most throughout the entire interview was directed at Valve’s opinion of gaming on connected screens. Gabe Newell responded,

The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simulateneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors -- now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.

This is pretty much confirmation, assuming no transcription errors on the part of The Verge, that Maxwell will support the virtualization features of GK110 and bring it mainstream. This also makes NVIDIA Grid make much more sense in the long term. Perhaps NVIDIA will provide some flavor of a Grid server for households directly?

The concept gets me particularly excited. One of the biggest wastes of money the tech industry has is purchasing redundant hardware. Consoles are a perfect example: not only is the system redundant to your other computational device which is usually at worst a $200 GPU away from a completely better experience, you pay for software to be reliant on that redundant platform which will eventually disappear along with said software. In fact, many have multiple redundant consoles because the list of software they desire is not localized to just one system so they need redundant redundancies. Oy!

A gaming server should help make the redundancy argument more obvious. If you need extra interfaces then you should only need to purchase the extra interfaces. Share the number crunching and only keep it up to date.

Also check out the rest of the interview over at The Verge. I decided just to cover a small point with potentially big ramifications.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

CES 2013 Video: ASUS RAIDR Express PCIe SSD and ARES II Dual HD 7970 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards, Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: raidr express, ces 2013, CES, ASUS ROG, asus, ARES II

No stop at the ASUS suite at CES is complete without talking to JJ and learning about what is new in the world of PC components.  Not only did we talk with him about the upcoming ARES II limited edition dual Radeon HD 7970 graphics card (that Chris has already written about earlier in the day) but also we learned that ASUS plans to enter the PCIe solid state market with the ROG RAIDR Express. 

Yeah, you read that right!

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2013: Live Hands-on with NVIDIA Shield Powered by Tegra 4

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | January 8, 2013 - 12:54 AM |
Tagged: video, tegra 4, shield, nvidia, live

Powered by the upcoming Tegra 4 SoC, Shield is an Android-powered device built into the form of a gaming controller with a 5-in display attached.  Not only will it play Android games in a new and interesting way but NVIDIA has promised the ability to stream PC games from your GeForce-powered desktop directly to your wireless device!

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We got our hands on the prototypes of the Shield and got to see the build quality, demo the Android games and even test out the PC game streaming technology.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Speeding up USB 3.0 with new hardware

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2013 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, superspeed usb, 10 Gbps

USB 3.0 will be getting a speed boost in the near future, with theoretical speeds of up to 10Gbps which makes it a decent competitor against Thunderbolt.  We won't see this new speed on existing devices though as this is a change to the hardware on both the connector and the cable, as opposed to a software upgrade.  They will retain their backwards compatibility for those who are still stuck on USB 2.0, but with transfer speeds this quick it makes a very compelling argument for finally upgrading to a system with USB 3.0 ... just wait until the new devices arrive.  More at Slashdot.

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"The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has used CES 2013 to announce an enhancement to the USB 3.0 (aka SuperSpeed USB) standard that will see the throughput performance of USB 3.0 double from 5 Gbps to 10 Gbps. The speed boost will come courtesy of enhanced USB connectors and cables that are fully backward compatible with existing USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices. The 10 Gbps SuperSpeed USB update (pdf) is up for industry review during the first quarter of 2013, with completion of the standard expected by the middle of the year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

ASUS Releases the Limited Edition ROG ARES II Dual 7970 and it's a Monster

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2013 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: ROG ARES II, liquid cooling, dual gpu, ces 2013, CES, asus, 7970

ASUS has just announced it's Limited Edition ROG ARES II Graphics card, and boy is it a doozy!

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Dual AMD Radeon 7970 GPU's clocked at 1100 MHz are paired with 6 GB of DDR5 running at a speedy 1650 MHz memory clock.  This monster needs 3 8 Pin power connectors from the minimum recommended 850 watt power supply that can push at least 42 Amps on the 12V rail.

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The ARES II will come with a 'hybrid cooling setup' that includes a custom cooler using both liquid and air cooling.  A closed-cycle liquid system with dual 120 mm fans and a radiator block cool the GPU while an 80mm 'dust-proof' fan gives additional cooling for the memory, power and other critical components.  ASUS is claiming that the cooling setup will keep everything stable even under full load and can achieve 13% more performance while running 30C cooler temperatures when compared to a reference GTX 690.

Detailed Specifications include:

Model name

 ARES2-6GD5

Graphics engine

 2 x AMD Radeon™ HD 7970 GHz Edition

System bus

 PCI Express 3.0 x 16

Video memory

 6GB GDDR5

Boost clock

 1100MHz (base clock: 1050MHz)

Memory clock

 6600MHz (1650MHz GDDR5)

Memory interface

 768-bit (2 x 384-bit)

Maximum DVI resolution

 2560 x 1600

Maximum VGA resolution

 2048 x 1536

Microsoft Direct3D version

 DirectX® 11

I/O

 1 x single link DVI / 1 x dual link DVI / 1 x HDMI via adapter/ 4 x native DisplayPort

Bundled accessories

 3 x 8-pin power cable / 1 x DVI to HDMI adapter / 1 x extended CrossFireX™ bridge

Minimum recommended

power supply

 850W (42A on the 12V rail)

Power

connectors

 3 x 8-pin

Dimensions

 Card: 11.8” x 5.5” x 1.8”

 Fan block: 4.6” x 5.8” x 1.9”

 Fan: 4.7” x 4.7” x 1”

 Liquid cooling tube length: 13.4”

Ryan was able to snap a few pics of the card at the ASUS booth and we can't wait to get our hands on it, but with pricing and availability yet to be announced, this may be a card out of reach of most of us.

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Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2013: Tegra 4, the Vision of Windows RT?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, nvidia, windows rt

It is the day after the NVIDIA keynote and the Tegra 4 floodgates are open. Sure, the rumors were fairly accurate, but I guess speculation waits for a solid basis to be believable.

The Tegra 4 marries 72 of the expected GPU cores with four… “plus one” as the bonus core is present although 4+1 branding does not seem to be… ARM Cortex-A15 cores. This push to an A15-based design provides a significant performance increase over Tegra 3. Another interesting feature is the ability to transmit 4K video should you have a suitable source or the rendered application can support 4K at a suitable framerate. You can then add in Icera’s LTE modem which is interesting in its own right to see a compelling product.

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Jen-Hsun spent about as much time justifying the need for speed as he did hyping its performance. Photographers, particularly those who wish to dabble with HDR, are able to use the Tegra 4 to vastly increase the speed of image processing at the time of taking the shot. Tonal mapping for an HDR image will take just 200ms of processing which allows HDR to be used along with burst mode and a flash.

Paul Thurrott over at the Supersite for Windows ponders whether this was Microsoft’s vision for Windows RT. He wonders whether Microsoft will try to take a mulligan on the first generation similar to Windows Phone 7-based devices led us to Windows Phone 8. At the same point, the weight which the Surface was designed to bare is pretty immense if it was just designed to buckle to Tegra 4. I would not put it past Microsoft although the Surface does not strike me as a product designed to have a doughy half-baked middle -- despite what actually shipped.

PC World also notes how Qualcomm continues to improve their products and have just recently transitioned to a 28nm process for the Snapdragon S4. Qualcomm is a giant and even then there is also Samsung to contend with in the ARM space -- then you consider x86 brings at least Intel to the game with its massive advantage in legacy software that are usually not abstracted by a platform-independent runtime layer.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: NVIDIA

CES 2013: NVIDIA Grid to Fight Gaikai and OnLive?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, nvidia

The second act of the NVIDIA keynote speech re-announced their Grid cloud-based gaming product first mentioned back in May during GTC. You have probably heard of its competitors, Gaikai and OnLive. The mission of these services is to have all of the gaming computation done in a server somewhere and allow the gamer to log in and just play.

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The NVIDIA Grid is their product top-to-bottom. Even the interface was created by NVIDIA and, as they laud, rendered server-side using the Grid. It was demonstrated to stream to an LG smart TV directly or Android tablets. A rack will contain 20 servers with 240 GPUs with a total of 200 Teraflops of computational power. Each server will initially be able to support 24 players, which is interesting, given the last year of NVIDIA announcements.

Last year, during the GK110 announcement, Kepler was announced to support hundreds of clients to access a single server for professional applications. It seems only natural that Grid would benefit from that advancement: but it apparently does not. With a limit of 24 players per box, equating to a maximum of two players per GPU, it seems odd that a limit would be in place. The benefit of stacking multiple players per GPU is that you can achieve better-than-linear scaling in the long-tail of games.

Then again, all they need to do is solve the scaling problem before they have a problem with scaling their service.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Brace Yourself: The PC Perspective CES 2013 Coverage is Coming!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Networking, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2013 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, pcper

It's that time of year - the staff at PC Perspective is loaded up and either already here in Las Vegas, on their way to Las Vegas or studiously sitting at their desk at home - for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show!  I know you are on our site looking for all the latest computer hardware news from the show and we will have it.  The best place to keep checking is our CES landing page at http://pcper.com/ces.  The home page will work too. 

brace2.jpg

We'll have stories covering companies like, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, Sapphire, Galaxy, EVGA, Lucid, OCZ, Western Digital, Corsair and many many more that I don't feel like listing here.  It all starts Sunday with CES Unveiled and then the NVIDIA Press Conference where they will announce...something.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast as we will be bringing you daily podcasts wrapping up each day.  We are also going to try to LIVE stream them on our PC Perspective Live! page but times and bandwidth will vary.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 SE Information Comes Out

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 4, 2013 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gk106, gtx 660 se

Are you ready for another entry to the confusing graphics market?  NVIDIA has you covered with the upcoming GeForce GTX 660 SE that will target the $180-200 market and hit the AMD Radeon HD 7870 1GB square in the jaw.  With the current lineup of GeForce cards that is the one area where NVIDIA is at an obvious disadvantage with the gap between the GTX 650 Ti and the GTX 660. 

As is usually the case, when a new graphics card is ready to hit the market, leaks occur in all directions.  Already we are seeing screenshots of specifications and benchmarks from PCEVA.  If the rumors are right you'll see the GTX 660 SE released in Q1 of 2013 with 768 CUDA cores, 24 ROPs and a 192-bit memory bus.  Interestingly, the GTX 660 SE will be based on GK106 and has the same core count as the GTX 650 Ti...the performance differences will be seen going from the 128-bit memory bus to 192-bit.  

660se-2.jpg

Current GPU-Z screenshots are showing a clock speed of 928 MHz with a Boost clock of 1006 MHz, running just about the same clock rates as the GTX 650 Ti (though the 650 series does not have GPU Boost technology enabled).  It also looks like the GTX 660 SE will use GDDR5 memory running 5.6 GHz and a 2GB capacity

660se-1.jpg

With CES just around the corner (we are leaving in the morning!) we will ask around and see if anyone has more information about a solid price point and time frame for release!

Source: WCCFtech

AMD Has Lots to DisplayPort at CES 2013

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | January 3, 2013 - 07:32 PM |
Tagged: ces 2013, CES, DisplayPort, amd

It has been several months since we first heard about AMD’s multi-stream transport hub -- its friends call it MST hub -- announced with the FirePro W600 last June. Since then news has been pretty quiet about the 1-to-4 DisplayPort device.

It turns out that AMD wants to roll the dice in Vegas along with several other demonstrations.

AMD-CES13-Hub1.jpg

Image from Rage3D Forums

The cute feature for the MST is its ability to split a 4K image into four 2K monitors. The reason why this is cute is because the hub enables the user to plug four-times as many monitors as they have DisplayPort 1.2 sockets on their GPU. The W600, for instance, contains 6 DisplayPort 1.2 plugs which enable it to drive 24 separate monitors from a single-slot card.

AMD-CES13-Hub2.jpg

Image from Rage3D Forums

Unfortunately, another feature of DisplayPort 1.2 is the ability to route sound uniquely to each display. The hub, as announced in June, is incapable of providing audio from its one input to its four displays.

A last goodie is the capacity to mix landscape and portrait monitors together in an Eyefinity setup. Stay tuned for our impending CES 2013 coverage for more details on these demos.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Meet Tahiti LE, the new 7870 MYST Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 2, 2013 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: powercolor, 7870 LE, MYST edition, tahiti LE, amd

The 7870 Limited Edition is a bit of an odd duck when you compare it to a stock 7870GHz Edition; it has 1536 stream processors as opposed to 1280 on the stock card, the base clock of 925MHz (975MHz Boost Clock) is slower than the 1GHz but the RAM is clocked even higher than a 7950 at 6GHz.  [H]ard|OCP wanted to see just how these tweaks effected the performance of the card, both at stock speeds and at their highest stable overclock of 1.2GHz GPU and 6.2GHz VRAM.  Check out the performance results to see if this card can approach the HD7950's power.

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"PowerColor has released a new graphics card based on the new AMD "Tahiti" 7870 LE core. We will investigate whether it is a worthy Limited Edition or simply a Lame Edition by comparing it to a Radeon HD 7870 GHz edition and a GTX 660 Ti with comparisons also to an HD 7950. Will this card be a deal, or a dud? You may be surprised."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Phoronix on OpenCL Driver Optimization, NVIDIA vs. AMD

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 28, 2012 - 02:43 AM |
Tagged: opencl, nvidia, amd

The GPU is slowly becoming the parallel processing complement to your branching logic-adept CPU. Developers have been slow to adopt this new technology but that does not hinder the hardware manufacturers from putting on a kettle of tea for when guests arrive.

While the transition to GPGPU is slower than I am sure many would like, developers are rarely quick on the uptake of new technologies. The Xbox 360 was one of the first platforms where unified shaders became mandatory and early developers avoided them by offloading vertex code to the CPU. On that note: how much software still gets released without multicore support?

7-TuxGpu.png

Phoronix, practically the arbiter of all Linux news, decided to put several GPU drivers and their manufacturers to the test. AMD was up first and their results showed a pretty sizeable jump in performance at around October of this year through most of their tests. The article on NVIDIA arrived two days later and saw performance trended basically nowhere since February with the 295.20 release.

A key piece of information is that both benchmarks were performed with last generation GPUs: the GTX 460 on the NVIDIA side, with the 6950 holding AMD’s flag. You might note that 295.20 was the last tested driver to be released prior to the launch of Kepler.

These results seem to suggest that upon the launch of Kepler, NVIDIA did practically zero optimizations to their older "Fermi" architecture at least as far as these Linux OpenCL benchmarks are concerned. On the AMD side, it seems as though they are more willing to go back and advance the performance of their prior generation as they release new driver versions.

There are very few instances where AMD beats out NVIDIA in terms of driver support -- it is often a selling point for the jolly green giant -- but this appears to be a definite win for AMD.

Source: Phoronix

Win a Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB GHz Edition FleX Graphics Card!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | December 19, 2012 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: video, sweepstakes, sapphire, never settle, giveaway, contest, amd

Remember those really cool game streams we hosted with AMD on Medal of Honor Warfighter, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3?  Well can you believe that one of the winners from our Far Cry 3 event hasn't replied to our request for a shipping address which means only one thing:

We have an extra Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX graphics card to hand out!

sapphire.jpg

Lucky you!  Since it is the holiday season, we wanted to make this EASY for you.  Here is how you enter:

We'll randomly pick a winner from anywhere in the world to get this kick ass prize on December 26th, so you'll have something to look forward to on the day after Christmas.

Good luck to all of you and our most heartfelt thanks to AMD, Sapphire and of course the fans of PC Perspective for a great 2012!!

AMD Announces Mobility 8000M Graphics Family with Modified Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 17, 2012 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: radeon, mobility, amd, 8800m, 8700m, 8600m, 8500m, 8000m

AMD appears to be jumping the gun a bit here but has decided to announce the Radeon 8000M-series of mobile GPUs prior to CES.  Before you get all riled up about the next generation of graphics technology, you should know that the new parts we are showing here are still built on the same 28nm Graphics Core Now (GCN) architecture that you'll find in the Radeon HD 7000 series of desktop graphics cards and even some already-existing Radeon mobility parts like the HD 7970M.  We were told there are "some changes" but details were minimal.

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Radeon HD 8500M and 8600M GPUs will both feature 384 stream processors with the variance related to the maximum clock speed.  The 8600M will hit 775 MHz core clock while the 8500M will cap out at 650 MHz.  Memory speeds are identical.  Keep in mind that the desktop Radeon HD 7750 card has 512 stream processors and it runs at up to 900 MHz so you that can put the performance of these mainstream GPUs in perspective.

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The 8700M uses the same 384 stream processor GPU though it gets a bit higher clock speed at 850 MHz.  The 8800M is the only GPU announced today to increase the core count to 640 stream processors and a clock speed of 700 MHz for a total compute capability of 992 GFLOPs.  Though the specifications are nearly equivalent to the build of the desktop Radeon HD 7770 part it is worth mentioning that the theoretical peak performance of that GPU is 1.28 TFLOPs; nearly 30% higher than the 8800M.

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AMD was coy but hinted that this mainstream product announcement will be added to later in Q1 with higher end enthusiast-level SKUs.  No 8900s yet guys, check back later.

When asked about the changes in this mobility GPU release compared to the 7000M series already available today, we only know that this is built on the same 28nm process but that the "architecture is slightly different and more efficient" than the 7000 chips.  These are NEW chips and are NOT rebrands of currently available products.  We don't have die sizes, transistor counts or TDPs until further notice.

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AMD did provide a couple of quick graphs comparing the performance of the Radeon HD 8870M against the GeForce 650M G5 and The 8770M against its own previously releaesd 7670M part.  Take all of this with a grain of salt until we can do our own testing, as per usual.

For now, I would say our readers should be very timid about the idea of a new series of GPUs from AMD without more information on the actual changes in performance will be compared to Souther Islands.  Based on what we are hearing the changes are very minor.

Lucid Virtu MVP 2.0 Coming Soon and Will Be Sold Directly to Consumers

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 14, 2012 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: virtu MVP, virtu, lucid, ces 2013, CES

In preparation for the upcoming CES 2013 show in January we have started having some pre-meeting discussions with various companies, one of which was Lucid.  While speaking with them we learned some interesting news about the upcoming v2.0 release of their Virtu MVP software including new features and a new availability option.

Lucid's Virtu MVP software is the technology that allows DIY PC builders and notebook vendors to easily accommodate utilization of both integrated and discrete graphics in a single system without the need to adjust settings or to move monitor cables around.  With Virtu MVP you can take advantage of the QuickSync technology of your Ivy Bridge processor but still utilize the performance of a discrete graphics card for gaming.  This can all be managed and handled on a single display with a single cable. 

Other additions like Virtual Vsync and HyperFormance were added in MVP and aim to improve the gaming experience in the same way that Virtu enhances the overall user experience.  And while Matt Smith liked the results from the software in his recent testing with an Origin laptop, there were a couple things that bugged us: the interface and the inability to get the software on your own.

mvp1.jpg

Next month Lucid will be launching the new version 2.0 of its software that should increase the responsiveness of the interface while also drastically improving the visuals and style.  Also included will be native Windows 8 support.

mvp2.jpg

Perhaps the most interesting news is that Lucid will soon start offering the software directly to consumers as a download instead of requiring that you get it from your motherboard or system vendor.  This is great news for users that have purchased motherboards without Virtu software and those of you that might want to buy a really low cost board that would lack those features as well.  You will apparently be able to buy it in Q1 from www.lucidlogix.com and the price should be "under $30" which likely indicates a $29.99 starting offer. 

What we don't know is how this will affect Lucid's motherboard partners - will they stop carrying the software as a bundle going forward or will they still offer it on select SKUs?  Lucid wouldn't divulge any of that yet but I assume we'll find out more at CES next month.

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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