AMD Gains Significant Market Share in Q2 2016

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 24, 2016 - 10:34 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, market share, jpr, jon peddie, amd

As reported by both Mercury Research and now by Jon Peddie Research, in a graphics add-in card market that dropped dramatically in Q2 2016 in terms of total units shipped, AMD has gained significant market share against NVIDIA.

GPU Supplier Market share this QTR Market share last QTR Market share last year
AMD 29.9% 22.8% 18.0%
NVIDIA 70.0% 77.2% 81.9%
Total 100% 100% 100%

Source: Jon Peddie Research

Last year at this time, AMD was sitting at 18% market share in terms of units sold, an absolutely dismal result compared to NVIDIA's dominating 81.9%. Over the last couple of quarters we have seen AMD gain in this space, and keeping in mind that Q2 2016 does not include sales of AMD's new Polaris-based graphics cards like the Radeon RX 480, the jump to 29.9% is a big move for the company. As a result, NVIDIA falls back to 70% market share for the quarter, which is still a significant lead over the AMD.

Numbers like that shouldn't be taken lightly - for AMD to gain 7 points of market share in a single quarter indicates a substantial shift in the market. This includes all add-in cards: budget, mainstream, enthusiast and even workstation class products. One report I am received says that NVIDIA card sales specifically dropped off in Q2, though the exact reason why isn't known, and as a kind of defacto result, AMD gained sales share.

unnamed.png

There are several other factors to watch with this data however. First, the quarterly drop in graphics card sales was -20% in Q2 when compared to Q1. That is well above the average seasonal Q1-Q2 drop, which JPR claims to be -9.7%. Much of this sell through decrease is likely due to consumers expecting releases of both NVIDIA Pascal GPUs and AMD Polaris GPUs, stalling sales as consumers delay their purchases. 

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 launched on May 17th and the GTX 1070 on May 29th. The company has made very bold claims about product sales of Pascal parts so I am honestly very surprised that the overall market would drop the way it did in Q2 and that NVIDIA would fall behind AMD as much as it has. Q3 2016 may be the defining time for both GPU vendors however as it will show the results of the work put into both new architectures and both new product lines. NVIDIA reported record profits recently so it will be interesting to see how that matches up to unit sales.

EVGA's Water Cooled GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid Runs Cool and Quiet

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2016 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, pascal, hybrid cooler, GTX 1080, evga

EVGA recently launched a water cooled graphics card that pairs the GTX 1080 processor with the company's FTW PCB and a closed loop (AIO) water cooler to deliver a heavily overclockable card that will set you back $730.

The GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid is interesting because the company has opted to use the same custom PCB design as its FTW cards rather than a reference board. This FTW board features improved power delivery with a 10+2 power phase, two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, Dual BIOS, and adjustable RGB LEDs. The cooler is shrouded with backlit EVGA logos and has a fan to air cool the memory and VRMs that is reportedly quiet and uses a reverse swept blade design (like their ACX air coolers) rather than a traditional blower style fan. The graphics processor is cooled by a water loop.

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid.jpg

The water block and pump sit on top of the GPU with tubes running out to the 120mm radiator. Luckily the fan on the radiator can be easily disconnected, allowing users to use their own fan if they wish. According to Youtuber Jayztwocents, the Precision XOC software controls the fan speed of the fan on the card itself but users can not adjust the radiator fan speed themselves. You can connect your own fan to your motherboard and control it that way, however.

Display outputs include one DVI-D, one HDMI, and three DisplayPort outputs (any four of the five can be used simultaneously).

Out of the box this 215W TDP graphics card has a factory overclock of 1721 MHz base and 1860 MHz boost. Thanks to the water cooler, the GPU stays at a frosty 42°C under load. When switched to the slave BIOS (which has a higher power limit and more aggressive fan curve), the card GPU Boosted to 2025 and hit 51°C (he managed to keep that to 44°C by swapping his own EK-Vardar fan onto the radiator). Not bad, especially considering the Founder's Edition hit 85°C on air in our testing! Unfortunately, EVGA did not touch the memory and left the 8GB of GDDR5X at the stock 10 GHz.

  GTX 1080 GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid Slave BIOS
GPU GP104 GP104 GP104
GPU Cores 2560 2560 2560
Rated Clock 1607 MHz 1721 MHz 1721 MHz
Boost Clock 1733 MHz 1860 MHz 2025 MHz
Texture Units 160 160 160
ROP Units 64 64 64
Memory 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 10000 MHz 10000 MHz 10000 MHz
TDP 180 watts 215 watts ? watts
Max Tempurature 85°C 42°C 51°C
MSRP (current) $599 ($699 FE) $730 $730

The water cooler should help users hit even higher overclocks and/or maintain a consistent GPU Boost clock at much lower temperatures than on air. The GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid graphics card does come at a bit of a premium at $730 (versus $699 for Founders or ~$650+ for custom models), but if you have the room in your case for the radiator this might be a nice option! (Of course custom water cooling is more fun, but it's also more expensive, time consuming, and addictive. hehe)

What do you think about these "hybrid" graphics cards?

Source: EVGA

Creatively testing GPUs with Google's Tilt Brush

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2016 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, Tilt Brush, VR

[H]ard|OCP continues their foray into testing VR applications, this time moving away from games to try out the rather impressive Tilt Brush VR drawing application from Google.  If you have yet to see this software in action it is rather incredible, although you do still require an artist's talent and practical skills to create true 3D masterpieces. 

Artisic merit may not be [H]'s strong suite but testing how well a GPU can power VR applications certainly lies within their bailiwick.  Once again they tested five NVIDIA GPUs and a pair of AMD's for dropped frames and reprojection caused by a drop in FPS.

1471635809gU37bh4rad_6_1.jpg

"We are changing gears a bit with our VR Performance coverage and looking at an application that is not as GPU-intensive as those we have looked at in the recent past. Google's Tilt Brush is a virtual reality application that makes use of the HTC Vive head mounted display and its motion controllers to allow you to paint in 3D space."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Announces TrueAudio Next

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 18, 2016 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: amd, TrueAudio, trueaudio next

Using a GPU for audio makes a lot of sense. That said, the original TrueAudio was not really about that, and it didn't really take off. The API was only implemented in a handful of titles, and it required dedicated hardware that they have since removed from their latest architectures. It was not about using the extra horsepower of the GPU to simulate sound, although they did have ideas for “sound shaders” in the original TrueAudio.

amd-2016-true-audio-next.jpg

TrueAudio Next, on the other hand, is an SDK that is part of AMD's LiquidVR package. It is based around OpenCL; specifically, it uses AMD's open-source FireRays library to trace the ways that audio can move from source to receiver, including reflections. For high-frequency audio, this is a good assumption, and that range of frequencies are more useful for positional awareness in VR, anyway.

Basically, TrueAudio Next has very little to do with the original.

Interestingly, AMD is providing an interface for TrueAudio Next to reserve compute units, but optionally (and under NDA). This allows audio processing to be unhooked from the video frame rate, provided that the CPU can keep both fed with actual game data. Since audio is typically a secondary thread, it could be ready to send sound calls at any moment. Various existing portions of asynchronous compute could help with this, but allowing developers to wholly reserve a fraction of the GPU should remove the issue entirely. That said, when I was working on a similar project in WebCL, I was looking to the integrated GPU, because it's there and it's idle, so why not? I would assume that, in actual usage, CU reservation would only be enabled if an AMD GPU is the only device installed.

Anywho, if you're interested, then be sure to check out AMD's other post on it, too.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Officially Announces GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 18, 2016 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1060 3gb, gtx 1060, graphics card, gpu, geforce, 1152 CUDA Cores

NVIDIA has officially announced the 3GB version of the GTX 1060 graphics card, and it indeed contains fewer CUDA cores than the 6GB version.

GTX1060.jpg

The GTX 1060 Founders Edition

The product page on NVIDIA.com now reflects the 3GB model, and board partners have begun announcing their versions. The MSRP on this 3GB version is set at $199, and availablity of partner cards is expected in the next couple of weeks. The two versions will be designated only by their memory size, and no other capacities of either card are forthcoming.

  GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Architecture Pascal Pascal
CUDA Cores 1152 1280
Base Clock 1506 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1708 MHz 1708 MHz
Memory Speed 8 Gbps 8 Gbps
Memory Configuration 3GB 6GB
Memory Interface 192-bit 192-bit
Power Connector 6-pin 6-pin
TDP 120W 120W

As you can see from the above table, the only specification that has changed is the CUDA core count, with base/boost clocks, memory speed and interface, and TDP identical. As to performance, NVIDIA says the 6GB version holds a 5% performance advantage over this lower-cost version, which at $199 is 20% less expensive than the previous GTX 1060 6GB.

Source: NVIDIA

Intel Larrabee Post-Mortem by Tom Forsyth

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | August 17, 2016 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: Xeon Phi, larrabee, Intel

Tom Forsyth, who is currently at Oculus, was once on the core Larrabee team at Intel. Just prior to Intel's IDF conference in San Francisco, which Ryan is at and covering as I type this, Tom wrote a blog post that outlined the project and its design goals, including why it didn't hit market as a graphics device. He even goes into the details of the graphics architecture, which was almost entirely in software apart from texture units and video out. For instance, Larrabee was running FreeBSD with a program, called DirectXGfx, that gave it the DirectX 11 feature set -- and it worked on hundreds of titles, too.

Intel_Xeon_Phi_Family.jpg

Also, if you found the discussion interesting, then there is plenty of content from back in the day to browse. A good example is an Intel Developer Zone post from Michael Abrash that discussed software rasterization, doing so with several really interesting stories.

3GB Version of NVIDIA GTX 1060 Has 128 Fewer CUDA Cores

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 12, 2016 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: report, nvidia, gtx 1060 3gb, gtx 1060, GeForce GTX 1060, geforce, cuda cores

NVIDIA will offer a 3GB version of the GTX 1060, and there's more to the story than the obvious fact that is has half the frame buffer of the 6GB version available now. It appears that this is an entirely different product, with 128 fewer CUDA cores (1152) than the 6GB version's 1280.

NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-1060-3-GB-Announcement.jpg

Image credit: VideoCardz.com

Boost clocks are the same at 1.7 GHz, and the 3GB version will still operate with a 120W TDP and require a 6-pin power connector. So why not simply name this product differently? It's always possible that this will be an OEM version of the GTX 1060, but in any case expect slightly lower performance than the existing version even if you don't run at high enough resolutions to require the larger 6GB frame buffer.

Source: VideoCardz

Wherein the RX 470 teaches us a valuable lesson about deferred procedure calls

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 12, 2016 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: rx 470, LatencyMon, dpc, amd

When The Tech Report first conducted their review of the RX 470 they saw benchmark behaviour very different from any other GPU in that family but could not figure out what it was and resolve it before the mob arrived with pitchforks and torches demanding they publish or die. 

As it turns out there was indeed something rotten in benchmark; incredibly high DPC on the test machine.  Investigation determined the culprit to be the beta BIOS on their ASRock Z170 Extreme7+, specifically the BIOS which allowed you to overclock locked Intel CPUs.  They have just released their new findings along with a look at LatencyMon and DPC in general.  Take a look at the new benchmarks and information about DPC, but also absorb the consequences of demanding articles arrive picoseconds after the NDA expires; if there is a delay in publishing there might just be a damn good reason why.

villagers_with_pitchforks.jpg

"We retested our RX 470 to account for this issue, and we also updated our review with DirectX 12 benchmarks for Rise of the Tomb Raider and Hitman, plus full OpenGL and Vulkan benchmarks for Doom."

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

Graphics Cards

Corsair Releases Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Liquid-Cooled Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 12, 2016 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: overclock, nvidia, msi, liquid cooled, hydro H55, hydro gfx, GTX 1080, graphics card, gaming, corsair

Corsair and MSI have teamed up once again to produce a liquid-cooled edition of the latest NVIDIA GPU, with the GTX 1080 receiving the same treatment these two gave to the Hydro GFX version of GTX 980 Ti last year.

HydroGFX_01.jpg

“The CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 brings all the benefits of liquid cooling to the GeForce GTX 1080, boasting an integrated CORSAIR Hydro Series H55 cooler that draws heat from the GPU via a micro-fin copper base cold plate and dissipates it efficiently using a 120mm high-surface area radiator. A pre-installed low-noise LED-lit 120mm fan ensures steady, reliable air-flow, keeping GPU temperatures down and clock speeds high.

With a low-profile PCB and pre-fitted, fully-sealed liquid cooler, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 is simple and easy to install. Just fit the card into a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, mount the radiator and enjoy low maintenance liquid cooling for the lifetime of the card.”

Naturally, with an integrated closed-loop liquid cooler this GTX 1080 won't be relegated to stock speeds out of the box, though Corsair leaves this up to the user. The card offers three performance modes which allow users to choose between lower noise and higher performance. Silent Mode leaves the GTX 1080 at stock settings (1733 MHz Boost), Gaming Mode increases the Boost clock to 1822 MHz, and OC Mode increases this slightly to 1847 MHz (while increasing memory speed in this mode as well).

gpu_clocks.png

This liquid-cooled version will provide higher sustained clocks

Here are the full specs from Corsair:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • CUDA Cores: 2,560
  • Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • Boost / Base Core Clock:
    • 1,847 MHz / 1,708 MHz (OC Mode)
    • 1,822 MHz / 1,683 MHz (Gaming Mode)
    • 1,733 MHz / 1,607 MHz (Silent Mode)
  • Memory Clock:
    • 10,108 MHz (OC Mode)
    • 10,010 MHZ (Gaming Mode)
    • 10,010 MHz (Silent Mode)
  • Memory Size: 8192MB
  • Memory Type: 8GB GDDR5X
  • Memory Bus: 256-bit
  • Outputs:
    • 3x DisplayPort (Version 1.4)
    • 1x HDMI (Version 2.0)
    • 1x DL-DVI-D
  • Power Connector: 8-pin x 1
  • Power Consumption: 180W
  • Dimension / Weight:Card: 270 x 111 x 40 mm / 1249 g
  • Cooler: 151 x 118 x 52 mm/ 1286 g
  • SKU: CB-9060010-WW

HydroGFX_Environmental_10.png

The Corsair Hydro GFX GTX 1080 is available now, exclusively on Corsair's official online store, and priced at $749.99.

Source: Corsair

ASUS Adds Radeon RX 470 and RX 460 to ROG STRIX Gaming Lineup

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 10, 2016 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: video card, strix rx470, strix rx460, strix, rx 470, rx 460, ROG, Republic of Gamers, graphics, gpu, gaming, asus

Ryan posted details about the Radeon RX 470 and 460 graphics cards at the end of last month, and both are now available. Now the largest of the board partners, ASUS, has added both of these new GPUs to their Republic of Gamers STRIX series.

1470330564155.jpg

The STRIX Gaming RX 470 (Image: ASUS)

ASUS announced the Radeon RX 470 STRIX Gaming cards last week, and today the more affordable RX 460 GPU variant has been announced. The RX 470 is certainly a capable gaming option as it's a slightly cut-down version of the RX 480 GPU, and with the two versions of the STRIX Gaming cards offering varying levels of overclocking, they can come even closer to the performance of a stock RX 480.

1470739275395.jpg

The STRIX Gaming RX 460 (Image: ASUS)

The new STRIX Gaming RX 460 is significantly slower, with just 896 stream processors (to the 2048 of the RX 470) and a 128-bit memory interface (compared to 256-bit). Part of the appeal of the reference RX 460 - aside from low cost - is low power draw, as the <75W power draw allows for slot-powered board designs. This STRIX Gaming version adds a 6-pin power connector, however, which should provide additional overhead for further overclocking.

Specifications:

  STRIX-RX470-O4G-GAMING STRIX-RX470-4G-GAMING STRIX-RX460-O4G-GAMING
GPU AMD Radeon RX 470 AMD Radeon RX 470 AMD Radeon RX 460
Stream Processors 2048 2048 896
Memory 4GB GDDR5 4GB GDDR5 4GB GDDR5
Memory Clock 6600 MHz 6600 MHz 7000 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Core Clock 1270 MHz (OC Mode)
1250 MHz (Gaming Mode)
1226 MHz (OC Mode)
1206 MHz (Gaming Mode)
1256 MHz (OC Mode)
1236 MHz (Gaming Mode)
Video Output DVI-D x2
HDMI 2.0
DisplayPort
DVI-D x2
HDMI 2.0
DisplayPort
DVI-D
HDMI 2.0
DisplayPort
Power Connection 6-pin 6-pin 6-pin
Dimensions 9.5" x 5.1" x 1.6" 9.5" x 5.1" x 1.6" 7.6" x 4.7" x 1.4"

The STRIX Gaming RX 470 OC 4GB is priced at $199, matching the (theoretical) retail of the 4GB RX 480, and the STRIX Gaming RX 470 is just behind at $189. The considerably lower-end STRIX Gaming RX 460 is $139. A check of Amazon/Newegg shows listings for these cards, but no in-stock units as of early this afternoon.

Source: ASUS

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.8.1

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 10, 2016 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers

Alongside the release of the Radeon RX 460 and RX 470 graphics cards, AMD has released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.8.1 drivers. Beyond adding support for these new products, it also adds a Crossfire profile for F1 2016 and fixes a few issues, like Firefox and Overwatch crashing under certain circumstances. It also allows users of the RX 480 to overclock their memory higher than they previously could.

amd-2015-crimson-logo.png

AMD is continuing their trend of steadily releasing graphics drivers, and rapidly fixing important issues as they arise. Also, they have been verbose in their release notes, outlining fixes and known problems as they occur. Users can often track the bugs that affect them as they are added to the Known Issues, then graduated to Fixed Issues. While this often goes unrecognized, it's frustrating as a user to experience a bug and not know whether the company even knows about it, or they are just refusing to acknowledge it.

Useful release notes, like AMD has been publishing, are very helpful in that regard.

Source: AMD

AMD and NVIDIA on the Vive; perfomance data on Raw Data

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 8, 2016 - 05:25 PM |
Tagged: htc vive, amd, nvidia, raw data

Raw Data is an early access game for the HTC Vive, one which requires space to move and which allows the Vive to show off its tracking ability.  [H]ard|OCP wanted to see how the GPUs found in most high end systems would perform in this VR game and so grabbed several AMD and NVIDIA cards to test out.  Benchmarking VR games is not an easy task, instead of raw performance you need to focus on the dropped frames and unstable fps which result in nausea and a less engrossing VR experience.  To that end [H] has played the game numerous times on a variety of GPUs with settings changing throughout to determine the sweet spot for the GPU you are running.  VR offers a new gaming experience and new tests need to be developed to demonstrate performance to those interested in jumping into the new market.  Check out the full review to see what you think of their methodology as well as the raw performance of the cards.

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"Both AMD and NVIDIA have had a lot to say about "VR" for a while now. VR is far from mainstream, but we are now seeing some games that are tremendously compelling to play, putting you in middle of the action. Raw Data is one of those, and it is extremely GPU intensive. How do the newest GPUs stack up in Raw Data?"

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 460 Nitro 4GB Benchmarked at HEXUS

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 8, 2016 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, RX460, rx 460, graphics, gpu, gaming, benchmark, 1080p, 1920x1080, gtx 950, gtx 750 ti

HEXUS has posted their review of Sapphire's AMD Radeon RX 460 Nitro 4GB graphics card, pitting it against the NVIDIA GTX 950 and GTX 750 Ti in a 1920x1080 benchmarking battle.

rx460nitro.jpg

Image credit: HEXUS

"Unlike the two previous AMD GPUs released under the Polaris branding recently, RX 460 is very much a mainstream part that's aimed at buyers who are taking their first real steps into PC gaming. RX 460 uses a distinct, smaller die and is to be priced from £99. As usual, let's fire up the comparison specification table and dissect the latest offering from AMD."

rx460.PNG

Image credit: HEXUS

The results might surprise you, and vary somewhat based on the game selected. Check out the source link for the full review over at HEXUS.

Source: HEXUS

Sapphire's Custom Cooled Nitro+ RX 470 Available Now

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 6, 2016 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 470, polaris 10, dual x, amd

Following the official launch of AMD's Radeon RX 470 GPU, Sapphire has unleashed its own custom graphics card with the Nitro+ RX 470 in 4GB and 8GB factory overclocked versions. Surprisingly, the new cards are up for purchase now at various retailers at $210 for the 4GB model and $240 for the 8GB model (more on that in a bit).

The new Nitro+ RX 470 uses the same board and cooler design as the previously announced Nitro+ RX 480 which is a good thing both for Sapphire (less R&D cost) and for consumers as they get a rather beefy cooler that should allow them to push the RX 470 clocks quite a bit. The card uses the same Dual X cooler with two 95mm quick connect fans, three nickel plated copper heatpipes, and an aluminum fin stack. The card features the same black fan shroud and black and silver colored backplate. Out of the box this cooler should keep the RX 470 GPU running cooler and quieter than the RX 480, but it should also enable users to get higher clocks out of the smaller GPU (less cores means less heat and more overclocking headroom assuming you get a good chip from the silicon lottery).

Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470.jpg

Sapphire is using Black Diamond 4 chokes and a 4+1 power phase design that is driven by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector (and up to 75W from the motherboard slot). This mirrors the design of its RX 480 sibling.

Display outputs include a single DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and two DisplayPort 1.4 ports.

The chart below outlines the comparison between the Nitro+ RX 470 cards, RX 470 reference specifications, and the RX 480.

 

Nitro+ RX 470 4GB

Nitro+ RX 470 8GB RX 470 Reference RX 480
Stream Processors 2048 2048 2048 2304
Compute Units 32 32 32 36
TMUs 128 128 128 144
ROPs 32 32 32 32
GPU Clock (Base) 1143 MHz 1121 MHz 926 MHz 1120 MHz
GPU Clock (Boost) 1260 MHz 1260 MHz 1206 MHz 1266 MHz
Memory 4GB GDDR5 @ 7 GHz 8GB GDDR5 @ 8 GHz 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 @ 6.6 GHz 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 @ up to 8 GHz
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 256 GB/s 211 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP <225W <225W 120W 150W
GPU Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 10
Price $210 $240 $180+ $200+ ($240+ for 8GB)

The RX 470 GPU is only slightly cut down from RX 480 in that it features four fewer CUs though the processor maintains the same number of ROP units and the same 256-bit memory bus. Reference clocks are 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost. Memory can be up to 8GB of GDDR5 with reference memory clocks of 6.6 GHz (effective). Sapphire has overclocked both the GPU and memory with the NItro+ series. The Nitro+ RX 470 with 4GB of GDDR5 is clocked at 1143 MHz base, 1260 MHz boost, and 7 GHz memory while the 8GB version has a lower base clock of 1121 but a higher memory clock of 8 GHz.

The 8GB model having a lower base overclock is a bit strange to me, but at least they are rated at the same boost clock. These specifications are very close to the RX 480 actually and with a bit of user overclocking beyond the factory overclock you could get even closer to the performance of it.

The problem with this RX 470 that gets so close to the RX 480 though is that the price is also very close to reference RX 480s! The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 4GB is priced at $209.99 while the Nitro+ RX 470 8GB is $239.99.

These prices put the card well into RX 480 territory though not quite up to the MSRPs of factory overclocked RX 480s (e.g. Sapphire's own Nitro+ RX 480 is $219 and $269 for 4GB and 8GB respectively). The company has a nice looking (and hopefully performing) RX 470, but it is going to be tough to choose this card over a RX 480 that has more shaders and TMUs. One advantage though is that this is a card that will just work without having to manually overclock (though where is the fun in that? heh) and it is actually available right now unlike the slew of RX 480 cards that have been launched but are consistently out of stock everywhere! If you simply can't wait for a RX 480, this might not be a bad option.

EDIT: Of course the 8GB model goes out of stock at Newegg as I write this and Amazon's prices are higher than MSRP! hah.

Source: Sapphire

Microsoft Publishes HLSL Shader Model 6.0 MSDN Docs

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 07:37 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, vulkan, microsoft, DirectX 12

Update (August 3rd @ 4:30pm): Turns out Khronos Group announced at SIGGRAPH that Subgroup Instructions have been recently added to SPIR-V (skip video to 21:30), and are a "top priority" for "Vulkan Next". Some (like WaveBallot) are already ARB (multi-vendor) OpenGL extensions, too.

Original post below:

DirectX 12's shading language will receive some new functionality with the new Shader Model 6.0. According to their GDC talks, it is looking like it will be structured similar to SPIR-V in how it's compiled and ingested. Code will be compiled and optimized as an LLVM-style bytecode, which the driver will accept and execute on the GPU. This could make it easy to write DX12-compatible shader code in other languages, like C++, which is a direction that Vulkan is heading, but Microsoft hasn't seemed to announce that yet.

microsoft-2015-directx12-logo.jpg

This news shows a bit more of the nitty gritty details. It looks like they added 16-bit signed (short) and unsigned (ushort) integers, which might provide a performance improvement on certain architectures (although I'm not sure that it's new and/or GPUs exist the natively operate upon them) because they operate on half of the data as a standard, 32-bit integer. They have also added more functionality, to both the pixel and compute shaders, to operate in multiple threads, called lanes, similar to OpenCL. This should allow algorithms to work more efficiently in blocks of pixels, rather than needing to use one of a handful of fixed function calls (ex: partial derivates ddx and ddy) to see outside their thread.

When will this land? No idea, but it is conspicuously close to the Anniversary Update. It has been added to Feature Level 12.0, so its GPU support should be pretty good. Also, Vulkan exists, doing its thing. Not sure how these functions overlap with SPIR-V's feature set, but, since SPIR was original for OpenCL, it could be just sitting there for all I know.

Sapphire Will Release Custom Radeon RX 460 Nitro OC Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 03:50 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 460, polaris 11, nitro, amd

AMD and its board partners will officially launch the first Polaris 11 GPU and the Radeon RX 460 graphics cards based around that processor on August 8th. Fortunately Videocardz.com got a hold of an image that shows off Sapphire's take on the RX 460 in the form of a factory overclocked and custom cooled RX460 Nitro OC. This gives us a hint at the kinds of cards we can expect and it appears to be good news for budget gamers as it suggests that there will be several options around this firm $100 price point that are a bit more than the bare necessities.

In the case of Sapphire's RX 460 Nitro OC, it uses a custom dual fan cooler with two copper heatpipes, an aluminum fin stack (that is much larger than reference), and two 90mm fans. Display IO includes one DVI, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort. The card itself uses a physical PCI-E x16 connector that is electrically PCI-E 3.0 x8. The x8 connection will be more than enough for this GPU though it also enables partners to cut costs.

Sapphire Nitro RX 460 OC.jpg

Clockspeeds are not yet known, but the Polaris 11 GPU (896 cores, 56 TMUs, 16 ROPs) will be paired with 4GB GDDR5 memory.

It is encouraging to me to see custom cards at this price point out of the gate with the full 4GB of memory (AMD allows 2GB or 4GB versions). Gamers that simply can't justify spending much more than a hundred dollars on a GPU should have ample options to choose from and I am looking forward to seeing what all the partners have to offer. 

Are you looking at Polaris 11 and the RX 460 for a super budget gaming build? What do you think about Sapphire's card with the company's custom cooler? 

Source: Videocardz

Rumor: GTX 980 and GTX 960 Lawsuits???

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lawsuit, GTX 980, gtx 960

Update @ 9:45pm: I heard that some AMD users were notified about their R9 purchase as well, calling it simply "R9". Since I didn't see concrete proof, I omit it from the post in case it was a hoax (as the story is still developing). I have since been notified of a tweet with an email screenshot.

Original post below:

Apparently, Newegg is informing customers that NVIDIA has settled a class action lawsuit with customers of the GeForce GTX 960 and GTX 980 cards, along with the GTX 970. It's currently unclear whether this is an error, or whether this is one of the sibling class action lawsuits that were apparently bundled together with the GTX 970 one. Users on the NVIDIA Reddit are claiming that it has to do with DirectX 12 feature level support, although that seems like knee-jerk confirmation bias to me.

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Regardless, if you purchased a GeForce 900-series graphics card from Newegg, maybe even including the 980 Ti, then you should check your email. You might have a settlement en-route.

That's all we know at this point, though. Thanks to our readers for pointing this out.

Source: PCInvasion

Report: NVIDIA to Announce Mobile Pascal Graphics at Gamescom

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, notebooks, mobile gpu, mobile gaming, laptops, GTX 1080M, GTX 1070M, GTX 1060M, discrete gpu

VideoCardz is reporting that an official announcement of the rumored mobile GPUs might be coming at Gamescom later this month.

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"Mobile Pascal may arrive at Gamescom in Europe. According to DigiTimes, NVIDIA would allow its notebook partners to unveil mobile Pascal between August 17th to 21st, so just when Gamescom is hosted is hosted in Germany."

We had previously reported on the rumors of a mobile GTX 1070 and 1060, and we can only assume a 1080 will also be available (though VideoCardz is not speculating on the specs of this high-end mobile card just yet).

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Rumored NVIDIA Mobile Pascal GPU specs (Image credit: VideoCardz)

Gamescom runs from August 17 - 21 in Germany, so we only have to wait about three weeks to know for sure.

Source: VideoCardz

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 10:16 AM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, radeon software, Crimson Edition 16.7.3, driver, graphics, update, rx480, rise of the tomb raider

AMD has released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 driver, with improved performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider for Radeon RX 480 owners, as well as various bug fixes.

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From AMD:

Radeon Software Crimson Edition is AMD's revolutionary new graphics software that delivers redesigned functionality, supercharged graphics performance, remarkable new features, and innovation that redefines the overall user experience. Every Radeon Software release strives to deliver new features, better performance and stability improvements.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Highlights

Performance Improvements:

Rise of the Tomb Raider performance increase up to 10% versus Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.2 on Radeon RX 480 graphics

For a full list of bug fixes and known issues, you can visit AMD's release notes page for 16.7.3. The new driver is available now from this link.

Source: AMD

Custom Cooled XFX Radeon RX 470 Graphics Card Revealed

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 30, 2016 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: xfx, rx 470, polaris 10, Double Dissipation Edition, amd

AMD's budget (under $200) Polaris-based graphics cards are coming next week, and the leaks are starting to appear online. In the case of the Radeon RX 470, AMD is expecting that most (if not all) of its board partners will be using their own custom coolers. Thanks to Chinese technology site EXPReview, we finally have an idea of what an RX 470 will look like – or at least what an XFX-branded RX 470 will look like!

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The website posted several photos of the alleged (but likely legitimate) XFX RX 470 "Black Wolf" graphics card which will probably be branded as the XFX RX 470 Double Dissipation in North America. This is a dual slot card with dual fan cooler that measures 9.45 inches long. Three copper heat pipes pull heat into an aluminum heatsink that is cooled by two 80mm fans that can reportedly be removed by the user for cleaning (and maybe user RMA replacement like Sapphire is planning). The card also features a full backplate and LED-backlit XFX logo along the side of the card. The design is all black with a white XFX logo.

Video outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and one DL-DVI which seems about right for this price point.

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation Backplate.jpg

The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector and the card will use AMD's RX 470 GPU and 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The RX 470 features 2048 cores, 128 texture units, and 32 raster operators, This is essentially a RX 480 GPU with four less Compute Units though it maintains the same number of ROPs and the same 256-bit memory bus. We do not know clockspeeds on this custom cooled XFX card yet, but overclockers may well be able to push clocks further than they could on RX 480 (there are less cores so the chips may be able to be pushed further on clocks), but it is hard to say right now. I would expect out of the box clocks to be a bit above the reference RX 470 clocks of 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost.

You can check out all of the photos of this card here.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more RX 470 and RX 460 news as we near the official launch dates!

Also read: 

Source: EXPReview