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Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Memory, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 9, 2012 - 10:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, workshop, streaming, quakecon, prizes, live, giveaways
It is that time of year again: another installment of the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop! Once again we will be presenting on the main stage at Quakecon 2012 being held in Dallas, TX August 2-5th.
Main Stage - Quakecon 2012
Saturday, August 4th, 2pm CT
Our thanks go out to the organizers of Quakecon for allowing us and our partners to put together a show that we are proud of every year. We love giving back to the community of enthusiasts and gamers that drive us to do what we do! Get ready for 2 hours of prizes, games and raffles and the chances are pretty good that you'll take something out with you - really, they are pretty good!
Our thanks for this year's workshop logo goes to John Pastor!!
Our primary partners at the event are those that threw in for our ability to host the workshop at Quakecon and for the hundreds of shirts we have ready to toss out! Our thanks to NVIDIA, MSI Computer and Corsair!!
If you can't make it to the workshop - don't worry! You can still watch the workshop live on our page right here as we stream it over one of several online services. Just remember this URL: http://pcper.com/workshop and you will find your way!
Case Mod Competition
Along with the Hardware Workshop, PC Perspective is working with Modders Inc on the annual case mod contest! There are two categories for the competition: "Scratch Built" and "In the Box" that will allow those that build their computer enclosures from the ground up to compete separately from those that heavily modify their existing cases and systems.
For more details, be sure to check out the on going thread at the Modders Inc Forums!
Prize List (will continue to grow!)
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 9, 2012 - 10:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Crysis 3, CryENGINE 3
Crytek released a video to show off new features of the CryEngine 3. Global illumination, tessellated foliage, and area lights are among the obvious enhancements. Check out the video and let it speak for itself.
Graphics good enough it will make you and your systems cry – we hope.
Once again Crytek has provided us with a video to show off how they intend to push the boundaries of real-time graphics. The engine is designed to run on the PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 albeit there will almost definitely be variance between graphics quality going from one platform to another.
Just don’t lick your screen.
Particle lighting and shadowing has been updated in several ways. Global illumination has been given yet another revision. Water has been given better scattering abilities. Lens flares and area lights. Most of these features bring CryEngine 3 towards the feature set available with the upcoming Unreal Engine 4. Good stuff and should choice for game developers large and small who wish to license the engine for their projects.
Crysis 3 is expected to be available in February 2013 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2012 - 03:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Siggraph, opengl, OpenGL ES, OpenGL 4.3, OpenGL ES 3.0
OpenGL turned 20 as of the start of this year. Two new versions of the API have just been released during SIGGRAPH: OpenGL 4.3 and OpenGL ES 3.0. Ars Technica put together a piece to outline the changes in these versions – most importantly: feature parity between Direct3D 11 and OpenGL 4.3.
As much attention as Direct3D gets for PC gamers – you cannot ignore OpenGL.
Reigning in graphics hardware is a real challenge. We desire to make use of all the computational performance of our devices but also make it easy to develop for in as few times as possible. Regardless of what mobile, desktop, or other device you own – if it contains a GPU it almost definitely supports either OpenGL or OpenGL ES.
Even certain up-and-coming websites utilize the GPU to break new ground.
The Khronosgraph says 20 years.
Two new versions of OpenGL were recently published: OpenGL 4.3 as well as OpenGL ES 3.0. For the first time OpenGL allows programmers to access compute shaders which makes it easier to accelerate computations which do not work upon pixels, vertices, or geometry without bringing in OpenCL or some other API. Unfortunately this feature does not appear to carry over to OpenGL ES 3.0.
OpenGL ES is also important, not just for native mobile development as it is intended, but also because it is considered the basis of WebGL. It is likely that a future WebGL revision will contain the OpenGL ES 3.0 enhancements such as many rendering targets, more complex shaders, and so forth.
But it seems like the major reason why these two revisions were released together – apart from their timing aligning with the SIGGRAPH trade show – is because OpenGL and OpenGL ES have been somewhat merged. OpenGL ES 3.0 is now a subset of OpenGL 4.3 rather than some heavily overlapping Venn diagram. Porting from one specification to the other should be substantially easier.
So happy birthday, OpenGL – just don’t go down the toilet on your 21st.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 7, 2012 - 01:15 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: deal of the day, evga, gtx 460, 2win
Do you remember when we posted our review of the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2Win graphics card? Just last year it retailed for $409 and rivaled the performance of the GTX 580. Well now you can pick one up for just $169 after a mail-in rebate!
This card features a pair of GF104 GTX 460 GPUs on a single PCB running in a semi-permanent SLI configuration. And considering a GTX 580 card will still cost you over $400 online today, the GTX 460 2Win from EVGA for $169 is a fantastic deal!!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Displays | August 7, 2012 - 10:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z77, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-h77n-wifi
During a European roadshow, Gigabyte showed off a new Mini-ITX form factor motherboard for the first time. Called the GA-H77N-WIFI, the motherboard is well suited for home theater and home server tasks. Based on the H77 chipset, it is compatible with the latest Intel Core i3 (coming soon), i5, and i7 "Ivy Bridge" processors. The board goes for an all-black PCB with minimal heatsinks on the VRMs, and the form factor is the same size as the motherboard that Ryan recently used in his Mini-ITX HTPC build.
The GA-H77N-WIFI features a LGA 1155 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, PCI Express slot, two SATA 3Gbps ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports, and an internal USB 3.0 header. There are also two Realtek Ethernet controller chips and a Realtek audio chip.
- 1 PS/2 port
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- 2 HDMI ports
- 1 DVI port
- 2 Antenna connectors (WIFI)
- 4 USB 2.0 ports
- 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 1 Optical S/PDIF port
- 5 Analog audio jacks
The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are interesting. It could easily be loaded with open source routing software and turned into router/firewall/Wi-Fi access point. To really take advantage of the Ivy Bridge support, you could put together a nice media server and HTPC recording/streaming box (using something like SiliconDust's HDHomeRun networked tuners or Ceton's USB tuner since this board is very scarce in the way of PCI-E slots). What would you do with this Mini-ITX Gigabyte board?
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability, but the motherboard is likely coming soon. You can find more information on the motherboard over at tonymacx86, who managed to snag get some photos of the board.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 6, 2012 - 12:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pny, nvidia, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, geforce
I reported earlier today that a Swedish retailer had listed a GTX 660 Ti for pre-order at 2,604 SEK (~$387). Assuming that figure was legitimate, it puts a serious hurt on the dreams of a $300 gaming card that performs very closely to the more expensive GTX 670 Kepler-based NVIDIA GPU. Bringing some of that hope back is graphics card news and reviews website Videocardz that claims to have found US-retailer based figures for the upcoming NVIDIA graphics card. In two screenshots, the site captured a page from what appears to be Cost Central that lists the MSRP of the GTX 660 Ti at $349.99. Even better is the second screenshot. It shows a–likely reference design–PNY Technologies GTX 660 Ti for $299.99 USD. The model number listed on both sites is VCGGTX660TXPB, which seems to indicate that it is being sold for less than MSRP over at MacMall.com.
The MSRP does further suggest that most graphics cards should be closer to $400 than $300, however. Especially for a new product, the MSRP is usually a good indication of where prices are centered around. With an MSRP of $349.99 for what is likely a reference card, custom designs should be more expensive and may even push that $400 mark.
On the other hand, it may yet be possible to snag a small number of designs for closer to $300 from some retailers with some shopping around and instant rebates, but it is difficult to say with 100% certainty either way until the cards are official and they are actually purchasable on major retailers’ websites.
In this case, I’m hoping to be proven wrong, as I do want to see a $300 GPU with hardware specifications that are very close to the GTX 670! Now that we have US pricing, it appears that the launch is imminent; therefore, it should be possible to get your hands on one–and see the final prices–very soon.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 5, 2012 - 08:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 660ti, graphics cards, gaming
Update: US-based retailers are starting to list the GTX 660 Ti as well, and at least one card is listed for $299, so there may be some hope despite the $349.99 MSRP. See the $299 PNY GTX 660 Ti graphics card here.
The GTX 660 Ti is an NVIDIA Kepler-based graphics card that has seen several leaks and even a full review ahead of official release. In the leaked review, rumored specifications were confirmed, and the card was shown to be very close to the existing GTX 670 GPU. Sometimes it was merely a couple of frames behind the $400+ GPU.
On the podcast, Ryan, Josh, and Jeremy speculated that–should the GTX 660 Ti be priced closer to the $300 mark in the rumored $300-400 pricing–it would be a very desirable gaming graphics card. Hardware-wise, the GTX 660 Ti is nearly identical to the GTX 670, and only sees a reduction in the memory bus from 256-bit to 192-bit. For a $100 cheaper card, gamers would be getting extremely close to the performance of the much more expensive GTX 670 Kepler card.
Unfortunately, it may not be the gaming card that people have been hoping for. According to Tom’s Hardware, a Swedish retailer has listed the GTX 660 Ti on its website for pre-orders at just under $400. At that price point, the GTX 660 Ti is much less desirable, and will be hard to justify versus springing for the GTX 670 for a bit more money.
Here’s hoping that the pre-order pricing is simply higher than the prices people will see once actual cards from NVIDIA and partners are officially released en masse. Do you think that there is still hope for the GTX 660 Ti as the gaming card of choice, or will you be looking elsewhere?
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 3, 2012 - 05:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MSI GTX680 Lightning, LN2 BIOS, factory overclocked, gtx 680, MSI Afterburner, overvolting
[H]ard|OCP recently tested the highly overclocked MSI GTX 680 Lightning, but because of the new release of the MSI Afterburner 2.2.3 tool they decided to retest to see if the new Afterburner will raise the ceiling on their maximum overclock. This new version allows voltage control of the GPU, the memory, and the PLL which ought to help push the card to higher frequencies. That did certainly turn out to be the case as they saw noticeable increases to all of the clocks on the card and more importantly translated into improvements in game play. When they used the LN2 BIOS the improvements were even more impressive. Remember that volt modding will shorten the lifespan of the card, but what a life it will have while it survives.
"Today we are revisiting the MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning video card. with its long-promised GPU and RAM voltage tweaking Afterburner software. We test both the stock BIOS and "LN2 BIOS" to find the best possible gaming experience the Lightning has to offer, and determine if the performance justifies the price."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Classified 4GB with EVBOT @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte GTX 680 Super Over Clock 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 SLI @ Hardware.info
- ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP@Bjorn3D
- NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti 2GB @ Tweaktown
- KFA GeForce GTX 680 LTD OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid AIO Video Card Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Arctic Accelero Xtreme III VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- A New Dawn DX11 Demo Compared to the Old Dawn @ [H]ard|OCP
- XFX Radeon HD7850 2GB Black Edition Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Club3D HD 7850 Royal Queen 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super OverClock @ TechSpot
- HIS Radeon HD 7970 X IceQ X2 Turbo 3GB Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte HD 7970 Super OC 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- Sapphire TOXIC 7970 GHz 6GB Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Systems | July 31, 2012 - 08:35 PM | Scott Michaud
Eurogamer and Digital Foundry believe that a next-generation Xbox developer kit somehow got into the hands of an internet user looking to fence it for $10,000. If the rumors are true, a few interesting features are included in the kit: an Intel CPU and an NVIDIA graphics processor.
A little PC perspective on console gaming news…
If the source and people who corroborate it are telling the truth: somehow Microsoft lost control of a single developer’s kit for their upcoming Xbox platform. Much like their Cupertino frenemies who lost an iPhone 4 in a bar which was taken and sold for $5000 to a tech blog, the current owner of the Durango devkit is looking for a buyer for a mere $10000. It is unlikely he found it on a bar stool.
One further level of irony, the Xbox 360 alpha devkit were repurposed Apple Mac Pros.
Image source: DaE as per its own in-image caption.
Alpha developer kits will change substantially externally but often do give clues to what to expect internally.
The first Xbox 360 software demonstrations were performed on slightly altered Apple Mac Pros. At that time, Apple was built on a foundation of PowerPC by IBM while the original Xbox ran Intel hardware. As it turned out, the Xbox 360 was based on the PowerPC architecture.
Huh, looks like a PC.
The leaked developer kit for the next Xbox is said to be running X86 hardware and an NVIDIA graphics processor. 8GB of RAM is said to be present on the leaked kit albeit that only suggests that the next Xbox will have less than 8GB of RAM. With as cheap as RAM is these days -- a great concern for PC gamers would be that Microsoft would load the console to the brim with memory and remove the main technical advantage of our platform. Our PCs will still have that advantage once our gamers stop being scared of 64-bit compatibility issues. As a side note, those specifications are fairly identical to the equally nebulous specs rumored for Valve’s Steam Box demo kit.
The big story is the return to x86 and NVIDIA.
AMD is not fully ruled out of the equation if they manage to provide Microsoft with a bid they cannot refuse. Of course practically speaking AMD only has an iceball’s chance in Hell of have a CPU presence in the upcoming Xbox – upgraded from snowball. More likely than not Intel will pick up the torch that IBM kept warm for them with their superior manufacturing.
PC gamers might want to pay close attention from this point on…
Contrast the switch for Xbox from PowerPC to X86 with the recent commentary from Gabe Newell and Rob Pardo of Blizzard. As Mike Capps has allured to – prior to the launch of Unreal Tournament 3 – Epic is concerned about the console mindset coming to the PC. It is entirely possible that Microsoft could be positioning the Xbox platform closer to the PC. Perhaps there are plans for cross-compatibility in exchange for closing the platform around certification and licensing fees?
Moving the Xbox platform closer to the PC in hardware specifications could renew their attempts to close the platform as has failed with their Games for Windows Live initiative. What makes the PC platform great is the lack of oversight about what can be created for it and the ridiculous time span for compatibility for what has been produced for it.
It might be no coincidence that the two companies who are complaining about Windows 8 are the two companies who design their games to be sold and supported for decades after launch.
And if the worst does happen, PC gaming has been a stable platform despite repetitive claims of its death – but could the user base be stable enough to handle a shift to Linux? I doubt that most would even understand the implications of proprietary platforms on art to even consider it. What about Adobe and the other software and hardware tool companies who have yet to even consider Linux as a viable platform?
The dark tunnel might have just gotten longer.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 31, 2012 - 03:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 670, gtx 660ti, graphics cards
Last week, additional information leaked about the upcoming Kepler-based NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti graphics card. Those rumors suggested that the GPU would be very similar to the one found in existing GTX 670 (which we recently reviewed).
We speculated that the GTX 660 Ti could be an awesome card, assuming the price was right. While we do not have any pricing information–the best guess from rumors is that it is in the $300 to $400 range–as a result of Tweaktown breaking the release date, we now know that the latest rumors were true.
The GTX 660Ti will feature 1344 CUDA cores and 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 192-bit memory bus. This puts the GTX 660 Ti very close to the current 670 in terms of potential performance. According to the leaked benchmarks, that seems to be the case. The GTX 660 Ti is only a couple of frames behind the GTX 670 in Just Cause 2 and Dirt 3, for example. Considering this card is likely to use a bit less power and cost less, it is shaping up to be a rather desirable card. If this ends up being on the low end of the $300-400 range (rumors suggest otherwise, however), I suspect many gamers are going to opt for this new Kepler card rather than the more expensive and only very slightly faster GTX 670.
What do you think about the GTX 660 Ti, is the card you were hoping for?
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 28, 2012 - 01:20 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, end of nations, beta
Looking for something to do August 10-12th? We have some good news for you!
The wait for End of Nations is over. NVIDIA and PC Perspective are inviting our lucky readers to join the global conflict in Trion's End of Nations closed beta weekend on August 10-12th.
Wage sprawling 56-player battles in this year's most anticipated MMO real-time strategy game for three action-packed days, absolutely free!
To get started, gear up with the ultimate weapon —an NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card - then click the link below to get your FREE beta key!
We have 1000 keys up for grabs!! So get one and pass it on to your friends as well!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile | July 27, 2012 - 02:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, winRT, gpgpu
Paul Thurrott of Windows Supersite reports that Windows 8 is finally taking hardware acceleration seriously and will utilize the GPU across all applications. This hardware acceleration should make Windows 8 perform better and consume less power than if the setup were running Windows 7. With Microsoft finally willing to adopt modern hardware for performance and battery life I wonder when they will start using the GPU to accelerate tasks like file encryption.
It is painful when you have the right tool for the job but must use the wrong one.
Windows has, in fact, used graphics acceleration for quite some time albeit in fairly mundane and obvious ways. Windows Vista and Windows 7 brought forth the Windows Aero Glass look and feel. Aero was heavily reliant on Shader Model 2.0 GPU computing to the point that much of it would not run on anything less.
Washington State is not that far away from Oregon.
Microsoft is focusing their hardware acceleration efforts for Windows 8 on what they call mainstream graphics. 2D graphics and animation were traditionally CPU-based with a couple of applications such as Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and eventually Chrome allowing the otherwise idle GPU to lend a helping hand. As such, Microsoft is talking up Direct2D and DirectWrite usage all throughout Windows 8 on a wide variety of hardware.
The driving force that neither Microsoft nor Paul Thurrott seems to directly acknowledge is battery life. Graphics Processors are considered power-hogs until just recently for almost anyone who assembles a higher-end gaming computer. Despite this, the GPU is actually more efficient at certain tasks than a CPU -- this is especially true when you consider the GPUs which will go into WinRT devices. The GPU will help the experience be more responsive and smooth but also consume less battery power. I guess Microsoft is finally believes that the time is right to bother using what you already have.
There are many more tasks which can be GPU accelerated than just graphics -- be it 3D or the new emphasis on 2D acceleration. Hopefully after Microsoft dips in their toe they will take the GPU more seriously as an all-around parallel task processor. Maybe now that they are implementing the GPU for all applications they can consider using it for all applications -- in all applications.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 26, 2012 - 02:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 670, gtx 660 Ti, GK104
Earlier this year, we covered rumors on several mid-range NVIDIA Kepler graphics cards. Swedish enthusiast site Sweclockers claims to have launch specifications and pricing on one of those cards: the GTX 660 Ti. The specifications the site has managed to get a hold of reinforce previous rumors except for the amount of RAM. While initial reports suggested the GTX 660 Ti would have either 1.5 GB or 3 GB, Sweclockers has stated that the card will have 2 GB of GDDR5 memory.
Aside from the bump down in the memory interface to a 192-bit bus (from the 256-bit interface of the GTX 670) capable of 144.19 GB/s throughput, the GTX 660 Ti is nearly the same as the currently available GTX 670. Allegedly, the GTX 660 Ti will run at the same GPU and memory clockspeeds as the GTX 670 – 915 MHz base/980 MHz boost and 6008 MHz effective respectively. The reference design will further be a dual-slot design with two DVI, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort output. Allegedly, it will be powered by two six-pin PCI-E power connectors and will have a 150W TDP, which means it needs slightly less cooling than the GTX 670 (which has a 170W TDP).
Interestingly, the site claims that the GTX 660 Ti will be available for purchase on August 16, 2012 for a bit over 3000 SEK (including VAT) which is roughly $436 (minus VAT since we do not have that). This price is in contrast to our prediction of a $300 to $400 graphics card. It may end up being very close to the high-end $400 number, or a bit above as it is very similar to the GTX 670. Hopefully the change in the amount of graphics memory means that you will be able to get custom 4GB GTX 660 Ti cards.
You can find more information about NVIDIA’s latest “Kepler” GK104 cards in our recent GTX 670 review. Are you ready for the mid-range NVIDIA cards? Which ones are you planning to get, should the rumored specs hold true?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2012 - 08:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: A New Dawn, video, nvidia, kepler
NVIDIA has released a demo for their latest GPUs which might be a little familiar for long-time PC gamers. A New Dawn is a remake of their Dawn demo for the GeForce FX line of graphics processors -- now with less fake Subsurface Scattering.
What better way to gratify your purchases than scantily clad demihumans?
It has been just months shy of a decade ago when NVIDIA revealed Dawn to attendees of the 2002 Game Developer’s Conference. Dawn, titled after both lead character as well as setting, was set to promote NVIDIA’s GeForce FX line of graphics processors.
Less lensflare than a dance-pop video.
Every day I'm fluttering -- ROFL.
A New Dawn demonstrates the progression between early-stage DirectX 9 through current DirectX 11.1 hardware. Dawn has been remodeled and reskinned with actual subsurface scattering to liven up her skin; fine-grained hair with blur shaders to prevent aliasing; and certainly no extra clothing. Her environment is modeled and tessellated -- a step up from the box she used to reside in.
A New Dawn is available for download from NVIDIA’s website if your system meets the minimum specifications -- which, if you have a Kepler GPU, is quite forgiving for a system that a Kepler GPU would make sense to be in.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2012 - 11:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: radeon hd 7990, GCN, dual gpu, amd, 7990
The long-awaited dual GPU Graphics Core Next architecture Radeon HD 7990 has missed its original Computex reveal and will likely miss the July release suggested by previous rumors. Interestingly, VR-Zone China reportedly has some updated information on specifications and release date.
The 7970. Expect the 7990 to have a much larger PCB and heatsink!
The dual GPU 7990 will allegedly not be released until at least late August 2012. Further, it will be powered by four six-pin PCI-E power connectors, and will have 6GB of GDDR5 memory (total, 3GB per GPU). Connecting the two 7970 Tahiti XT GPU cores in CrossFire will be a PLX chip – similar to that found in the dual GPU NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card. As far as video outputs, you can expect four mini-DisplayPorts and two dual-link DVI connectors.
Additionally, previous rumors suggested that the GPU cores would be clocked at 850 MHz, but that may not be the case now that AMD is seeing much better binning with its GHz Edition chips. Also unclear is whether or not the Radeon HD 7990 will have any sort of Powertune with Turbo boost technology like the 7970 GHz Edition. Being based on two 7970 GPU cores, you can look forward to 4,096 stream processors, 64 ROP units, and a dual slot design with three fans providing cooling for the heatsink.
Right now, AMD does not have an answer to the NVIDIA GTX 690 which has been on the market for a while. At this point, you may be better off getting two 7970 GHz Edition graphics cards and putting them in CrossFire. Granted, they are going to take up more space in your case but you can get them today, they will have GPU boost, and will likely cost less to boot. With that said, I do understand the allure of a dual GPU AMD card based on GCN and hope to see it soon.
Stay tuned for more Radeon 7990 coverage as it arrives.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 05:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd
Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market. With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.
AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB
We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit. Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.
AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $499
Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $429
Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $349
Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $299
Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239
Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $124
Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series
GeForce GTX 690 4GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $999
GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499
GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
In a stunning change of fate, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 has been steadily in stock for the last few weeks but the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that we reviewed on June 24th has yet to show its face. Yes, you can find HD 7970 cards running at 1000 MHz core clock speeds (and higher) though they don't have the 6.0 Gbps memory speeds nor the "PowerTune with Boost" technology that really set the new version of the GPU apart.
When asked, AMD told us to expect Sapphire and XFX models in stock early next week - so we'll definitely keep an eye on the online retailers for that.
The only other changes are some more price drops on the AMD side. You can now get a standard HD 7970 for $80 less than the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7950 for $50 less than the GTX 670. AMD knows that with NVIDIA's great branding and marketing they needed to make a case for their GPUs over the competition and these types of price cuts really give gamers two great options for their gaming dollar.
We are still waiting on NVIDIA's answer for sub-$399 GPUs based on Kepler - hopefully we won't be waiting long.
If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:
- Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
- GeForce GTX 670
- GeForce GTX 690
- GeForce GTX 680
- MSI R7970 Lightning
- Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850
- Radeon HD 7770 and HD 7750
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon HD 7970
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 12:02 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toxic edition, sapphire, radeon, overclocked GPU, gpu, 7970 ghz edition
GPU add-in-board partner Sapphire Technology has launched a new factory overclocked graphics card based on the AMD 7970 GHz Edition GPU (which we did a live video review of recently). That particular chip is built on the 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and brings several improvements over the initial (non GHz Edition) 7970 GPU. The main difference between the two is that the GHz variant is a higher binned part that also features a new GPU boost technology similar to NVIDIA’s dynamic overclocking function. The new Sapphire Toxic card takes that chip and pushes it to the max with two levels of factory overclocked settings.
Packing the company’s custom dual 90mm fan and heatpipe-equipped Vapor-X cooler, the HD 7970 TOXIC Edition features 6GB of GDDR5 memory, 2,048 stream processors, and a 7970 GHz Edition GPU. Out of the box, the card has a base GPU clockspeed of 1050 MHz and a boost speed of 1100 MHz. On the memory side of things, it runs the GDDR5 at 6,000 MHz (effective). When you press a button – which the company calls the Lethal Boost Button – the base clockspeed becomes 1100 MHz and the boost speed becomes 1200 MHz. The Lethal Boost also overclocks the memory to 6400 MHz (effective).
The card also includes a 12 layer black PCB with a new eight phase power design package for the GPU and an additional power phase for the VDDCI and MVDD along with other high-end goodies to deliver the stable voltage necessary for the high factory overclocks. Rear IO on the graphics card includes two DVI ports – one dual link and one single link – one mini-DisplayPort, and one full-sized HDMI port. In all, it is a dual slot card and measures 275mm in length, and 115mm wide. You will be able to purchase the Toxic edition card for $680. It looks like a really good card, but it’s not cheap.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2012 - 11:23 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Overclocked, nvidia, gt640, gpu, gddr3
Interestingly, in spite of recent rumors suggesting that NVIDIA is refreshing the low-end GeForce GT 640 graphics card with GDDR5 memory, add-in-board partner Point Of View is launching an overclocked GT 640. What’s interesting is that the new card will be packing the older GDDR3. The card will come in two SKUs, a 1GB and a 2GB model – both with 384 CUDA cores. Using a 128-bit memory interface and a PCI-E 3.0 card interface, the card is based on NVIDIA’s 28nm “Kepler” GPU.
In addition to the GDDR3 memory, specifications include a 1006 MHz graphics clock, and 2020 MHz memory clock. Compared to the reference GT 640, the overclocked GT 640 has a healthy boost. The reference GPU clock speed is only 900 MHz while the memory clock speed is 1800 Mhz, meaning the Point of View TGT Ultra Charged has a 106 MHz GPU and 220 MHz memory overclock – very respectable. As Techpowerup notes, the factory overclocked card will cost around or € 115 with VAT tax (around $120 USD). That puts this card in between an AMD 7750 and AMD 7770. The overclocks should help it to get closer to the performance of the 7750, but it is still rather difficult to justify. Especially with a refreshed version with GDDR5 rumored to be in the works, I would hold off on buying any current GT 640 cards, and I think from our recent podcast Ryan would agree with me.\
What do you think though; let us know in the comments below. You can read more about the new factory overclocked GeForce GT 640 over at TechPowerUp.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2012 - 02:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, hd7970, hd 7970 ghz edition, hd 7870 ghz edition, hd 7870, amd
AMD today announced that the HD7970 GHz Edition will be available on July 16th for a MSRP of $500. As well there will be a 7870 GHz Edition as well, retailing for around $300 which is a rather nice price point for a premium model of the 7870. As far as changes to existing models, the Radeon HD 7970 will be available for $429 and the HD 7950 will be available for $349. While these prices may disappoint early adopters, perhaps the fact that a CrossFire setup has become more affordable will give some comfort.
These new prices will come in conjunction with AMD's "Three-for-Free promotion" which will allow you to choose three DX11 games to acquire for free along with your purchase of a Tahiti based Radeon GPU. For those on a lower budget, the 7870 GHz Edition will net you a free copy of DiRT Showdown.
Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2012 - 07:20 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, gtx 660, gtx 650 Ti, gtx 640, graphics cards, gpu
We have seen and reviewed NVIDIA’s high-end Kepler graphics cards, but the company’s mid-range line has been even harder to find than the GTX 680 was a couple months ago. That may be about to change though, as recent rumors suggest that the company is preparing at least three mid-range graphics cards for public release.
The current GT 640. Expect the refresh to look very similar.
The cheapest rumored card is a refresh of the existing GeForce GT 640. The refresh is slated for an August 2012 release and it takes the existing GK107 GPU with 384 CUDA cores and pairs it with GDDR5 memory instead of the currently used GDDR3. Videocardz predicts that the move to GDDR5 will bump the price up to a bit over $100.
The next card up will reportedly cost around $150 and will be released in August. The GeForce GT 650 Ti will allegedly be based around the GK106 GPU with 960 CUDA cores enabled. It will likely be paired with up to 2GB of GDDR5 memory and a 192-bit memory interface. This card will likely be the high-end HTPC and/or very entry level gaming card on the NVIDIA side.
However, for those serious about wanting to get into gaming, they should probably spend a bit more on the GPU and get at least the GTX 660. This rumored card is using a GK106 GPU with 1152 CUDA cores enabled and an alleged 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit interface. As far as pricing, it will be positioned between the GT 650 Ti and the GeForce GTX 670 – somewhere in the $200-300 range.
Interestingly, if rumors turn out to be true, there may be yet another new graphics card that would fill the performance (and price) void between the GTX 660 and GTX 670: the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Allegedly, the GTX 660 Ti would be very close to the GTX 670 as far as specifications are concerned. Both cards are based on the GK104 Kepler GPU (which we recently reviewed) and would have 1344 CUDA cores enabled. Where the two differ in the predicted specifications is memory. While the GeForce GTX 670 has either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit interface, the GTX 660 Ti will have 1.5GB or 3GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit interface. This card is also predicted to be released in August with the above mentioned NVIDIA GPUs. You can expect this card to be priced in the $300 to $400 dollar range, with an emphasis on the former for reference designs with 1.5GB of memory.
All these rumored cards should really help NVIDIA to flesh out its Kepler lineup and take on AMD on all fronts. These cards (assuming the rumors hold true, of course) should also be much easier to find and get a hold of since they are probably using binned chips that could not be sold as a GTX 670 or GTX 680 which were difficult to find in stock at launch.
What do you think about these rumors, do they sound plausible? Have you been holding off on Kepler until cheaper cards are released? Let us know in the comments below. You can find more information on the rumored graphics cards here.
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