GeForce 314.07 WHQL Drivers: Optimized For Crysis 3, Assassin's Creed 3 & Far Cry 3

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 10:50 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce, 314.07

Just in time for the arrival of the Titan previews comes the new WHQL 314.07 Geforce driver from NVIDIA.  Instead of offering a list of blanket improvements and average frame rate increased, NVIDIA has assembled a list of charts showing performance differences between this driver and the previous one for their four top GPUs in both SLI and single card setups.  As well they attempt to answer the question "Will it play Crysis 3?" with the chart below, showing the performance you can expect with Very High settings at 1080p resolution and 4x AA.  They also provide a link to their GeForce Experience tool which will optimize your Crysis 3 settings to whatever NVIDIA card(s) you happen to be using.  Upgrade now as the new driver seems to offer improvements across the board.

nvidia-geforce-314-07-whql-drivers-crysis-3-performance-chart-650.png

 

The new GeForce 314.07 WHQL driver is now available to download. An essential update for gamers jumping into Crysis 3 this week, 314.07 WHQL improves single-GPU and multi-GPU performance in Crytek’s sci-fi shooter by up to 65%.

Other highlights include sizeable SLI and single-GPU performance gains of up to 27% in Assassin’s Creed III, 19% in Civilization V, 14% in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, 14% in DiRT 3, 11% in Just Cause 2, 10% in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, 10% in F1 2012, and 10% in Far Cry 3.

Rounding out the release is a ‘Excellent’ 3D Vision profile for Crysis 3, a SLI profile for Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry, and an updated SLI profile for the free-to-play, third-person co-op shooter, Warframe.

You can download the GeForce 314.07 WHQL drivers with one click from the GeForce.com homepage; Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 packages are available for desktop systems, and for notebooks there are Windows 7 and Windows 8 downloads that cover all non-legacy products.

Source: NVIDIA

Intel's embedded GPU might finally be 'good enough' according to JPR

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 10:38 AM |
Tagged: Q4 2012, NVIDA, jon peddie, Intel, amd

Jon Peddie Research have released their findings on the state of the discrete and integrated graphics market, not counting servers, smartphone nor ARM based systems.  While the overall PC market showed a negligible gain of 2.8% over the final quarter of 2012, discrete graphics sales saw a decline of 8.2%, which JPR attributes to a noticeable increase of purchases of systems with only an Intel or AMD embedded GPU.  When you break the quarter down by manufacturer the news is not good.  For AMD the last quarter did see an increase of less than 1% on desktop CPUs but declines of 19% in laptop CPU sales and 13.6% in discrete GPU sales.  Intel saw desktop CPU sales up 3% but lost over 6% on laptop sales with their overall decline compared to last quarter sitting at about 3%.  NVIDIA was hit the hardest at the end of 2012 with only their discrete GPU sales applying to this survey, a loss of 15% on the desktop and a loss of 18% on mobile GPUs lead to an overall decline of 16%.

Compared to the final quarter of 2011, AMD lost 29.4%, Intel 5% and NVIDIA 4.6%, reflecting the difficulty of making sales in the past year; the total discrete GPU market dropped almost 10% or about 3 million units.  Even with the companies making profits, in some cases significant profits, the entire GPU market is depressed with ARM based devices and smartphones starting to erode the market that is already shrinking thanks to Intel and AMD shipping CPUs with embedded GPUs that are good enough for many users needs.

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"The news was disappointing for every one of the major players. AMD dropped 13.6%, Intel slipped the least, just 2.9%, and Nvidia declined the most with 16.7% quarter-to-quarter change, this coming on the heels of a spectacular third quarter. The overall PC market actually grew 2.8% quarter-to-quarter while the graphics market declined 8.2% reflecting a decline in double-attach. That may be attributed to Intel's improved embedded graphics, finally making "good enough" a true statement."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD wants to set the record straight on its future GPU strategy

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2013 - 10:50 AM |
Tagged: southern islands, Solar System, Sea Islands, radeon, oland, mars, holycrapiamtotallyconfused, amd

Remember that story we posted last week and then discussed on the podcast about AMD not releasing any new GPUs in 2013?  Today we had a call with AMD that attempted to answer some questions, clear up some confusion and give us some insight to the company's direction.  I say 'attempted' because after a 53 minute discussion, we have some answers, but we also have some interesting questions that remain.

First, some definitions.  If you have heard about code names like "Solar System" and "Sea Islands" you might not know what they refer to.  Sea Islands is a new line that will fall into the 8000-series of products and will be a refresh, slightly different architecture based heavily on the Southern Islands parts you've come to love in the Radeon HD 7000 parts.  Solar System is the name AMD has given to the sub-category of Sea Islands directly related to mobile products, the 8000M. 

amd20131.jpg

The slide that started this confusion - and our questions.

What might make things even more confusing is that there are some 8000-series parts that are already shipping in OEM desktops and notebooks that use verbatim HD 7000 GPU specs.  So what you have is a combination series with Radeon HD 8000 that is made up of some rebrands and at least a couple of "new" chips thus far.  Those two new GPUs, Mars and Oland (Radeon HD 8650 and HD 8670) depending on the mobile or desktop target, are already out and you can find them if you look hard.  They are NOT available in the channel or for DIY PC users. 

Our readers might be disappointed to learn that Sea Islands is heavily focused on the notebook and mobile markets though AMD did indicate that there some good things coming for the channel users in the future in 2013. 

We also learned that the HD 7900-series will remain the company's high end parts through the end of 2013 but AMD said that there are new SKUs set to be released in this series sometime this year as well.  Will that be the elusive HD 7990 dual-GPU product or maybe just something in the mainstream 7800 segments?  They wouldn't tell us but we are definitely hoping for higher performance parts.  You might also expect to see these new 7000-series parts to use Sea Islands silicon...

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The Radeon HD 7970 looks like it will stay a focus for AMD throughout 2013.

Many readers might be wondering why AMD is breaking its standard cadence of near-yearly GPU releases.  The answer came from AMD's Roy Taylor, VP of Channel Sales, who said that "7000 series parts are continuing to ramp UP, sales are increasing" so it is premature for AMD, as a company intending to make money, to introduce a new series or architecture. 

In fact Roy was very emphatic about relieving us of potential ambiguity. 

We have products, we have a road map.  We are not announcing them now because we want to reposition the ones we have now.  We are not sitting still, we do not lack resources, we do not lack imagination.

So what can you expect for the future?  Sea Islands chips will continue to be released and eventually in the desktop, channel market and some of them will be branded as 7000-series parts and some of them will be branded as 8000-series parts.  They wouldn't give us information on whether or not you'll see BIGGER chips (which we would assume would be faster) than the current HD 7900 cards or if they would all be in the mainstream segment. 

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AMD thinks its partnerships with key games like Crysis 3 will help keep momentum in 2013.

The residual message from this call was that AMD wants everyone to know that they have the best products on the market today and to maintain that momentum, AMD will enhance drivers, establish big partnerships with gaming companies and developers and release SOME new GPUs. 

AMD was cagey again when asked about the possibility of a new architecture by the end of 2013 but based on the reactions of AMD reps I tend to believe we will see it, though probably very very close to the end of that time.  (Update: AMD did in fact say that an entire new product stack would be releaed by the end of 2013.)

That all clear now?

UNIGINE's Newest Valley Benchmark Features Huge, Open-Space Expanses

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 15, 2013 - 10:43 AM |
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.

Advanced Edition
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 Valley Benchmark Advanced Edition is available for purchase in the official UNIGINE online store.

unigine_valley_launcher.jpg

Professional Edition
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

The Valley Benchmark Pro Edition is available for purchase in the official UNIGINE online store.

unigine_valley9.jpg

 

Source: UNIGINE

Pick up a GTX660 GC and get close to its value in online currency

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2013 - 02:33 PM |
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?

H_660GC.jpg

"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."

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

NVIDIA Joins the Bundle Game: Up to $150 in credit on Free-to-Play games for all GTX buyers

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 11, 2013 - 09:33 AM |
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!

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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!

bundle3.png

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.

bundle2.png

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. 

AMD plans no new graphics cards in 2013, report

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 8, 2013 - 07:03 PM |
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. 

amd20131.jpg

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.

amd20132.jpg

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. 

Source: 4gamer.net

MSI 3DMark Challenge: Rewarding Overclockers

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | February 4, 2013 - 03:36 PM |
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.

msi3dmarkBanner.jpg

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.

Check in to the press blast after the break.

Source: HWBot

AMD Never Settle Reloaded Bundle Campaign Includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 11:30 AM |
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. 

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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.

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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.

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DMC Devil May Cry is included for the APAC region (instead of Tomb Raider).

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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?

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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.

nsr6.jpg

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.

nsr7.jpg

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!

New 3DMark Benchmarking Suite Release Is Imminent

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 12:29 AM |
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.

3DMark benchmarking stats output.jpg

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.

Source: Futuremark

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta GPU Driver With Optimizations For Crysis 3

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2013 - 05:04 AM |
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.

For more details on the driver, AMD has posted the change log on its blog as well as suggested image quality settings for AMD cards running the Crysis 3 beta.

Now watch: PC Perspective live streams the Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta.

 

Source: AMD

PCPer Live! Crysis 3 Beta Game Stream - Join us at 6pm ET tonight!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 29, 2013 - 11:53 AM |
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.

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Crysis 3 Game Stream

3pm PT / 6pm ET - January 29th

PC Perspective Live! Page

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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).

As powerful as it is rare, meet the ASUS ROG ARES II

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 28, 2013 - 12:53 PM |
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.

H_ares2.jpg

"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:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PlayStation 4 (PS4) Orbis Hardware Specifications - AMD APU or Discrete?

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | January 23, 2013 - 11:42 AM |
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. 

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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. 

kaveri.JPG

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.

xbox360gpu.jpg

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.

Source: Kotaku

As promised, 8GB of GTX 670 SLI performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 12:47 PM |
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.

H_SLI_ASUS670s.jpg

"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:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Rumor: NVIDIA GK110 based GeForce GPU 'Titan' to be released late February

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 11:44 AM |
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. 

gk110.jpg

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.

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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.

Deals for January 22nd - World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria Collector's for $59

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 22, 2013 - 10:02 AM |
Tagged: deals

Top deal

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition (PC/Mac) for $59.99 with free shipping (normally $80 - use coupon code: EMCXWVV99).

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Laptops

HP ENVY 4-1130us Core i5 14" Ultrabook (Quickship) for $549.99 with free shipping (normally $849.99 - use coupon code: SNOW100).

Desktops

Alienware X51 Core i7 mini Gaming PC w/ GeForce GTX 660 for $1,079.10 with Free Shipping (normally $1,200).

Computer Components

D-Link Systems Cloud Camera 5000 Pan/Tilt HD Network Camera with Mydlink (DCS-5222L) for $259.94 with Free Shipping (normally $300).

Dell S2740L 27" 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $278.99 with Free Shipping (normally $370 - use coupon code: DMFVW8?GQ27MDX).

Crucial M4 2.5" 512GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD (CT512M4SSD2) for $399.00 with Free Shipping (normally $600).

Entertainment

55" LG 55LM4600 1080p 3D 120Hz LED HDTV for $849.99 with free shipping (normally $1,400).

50" Insignia NS-50L240A13 1080p LCD HDTV for $449.99 with free shipping (normally $500).

46" Seiki SE461TS 1080p LCD HDTV for $398.00 (normally $500).

22" Westinghouse LD-2240 1080p LED HDTV for $129.96 with free shipping (normally $180).

D-Link DSM-312 MovieNite Plus Built-in Wi-Fi Streaming Media Player for $35.42 with Free Shipping (normally $80).

Pioneer SW-8 100-Watt Powered Subwoofer for $69.99 with free shipping (normally $160 - use coupon code: EMCXWVV75).

Gadgets

Zadro Personal Sunlight 365 Therapy for $59.99 plus free shipping(normally $77.99).

DFX Dynamax Pro Core Trainer Strengthening System for $194.90 plus free shipping(normally $257.50).

Shure Craft Kit (6 options) via Groupon for $8.00(normally $19.99).

Source: LogicBuy

ASUS Shows Off ROG ARES II GPU With Sealed Loop Water Cooler

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2013 - 10:26 PM |
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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Source: Asus

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.1 GPU Drivers With Various Tweaks for Radeon HD 7000 Series

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2013 - 08:33 AM |
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.

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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.

 

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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.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Employees Stole 100,000 Confidential Documents Claims AMD

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 16, 2013 - 10:10 AM |
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.

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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.

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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

Source: Arstechnica