AMD wants to wash your hair, with graphics. What??

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 22, 2013 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: tressfx, amd

I got an odd email just now that I thought I would share with you.  From AMD's Gaming Evolved account I got this:

You're at the top of your game. Why isn't your hair? TressFX is specially formulated with dynamic compounds like PPLL to re-energize your tired locks with vitality and luster.

WAT?

tressfx.jpg

An odd campaign for sure, but it appears that on Tuesday AMD is going to discuss a technology that will bring realistic hair to gaming.  Finally some use for all that GPGPU horsepower on the Southern Islands graphics cards?

You can see the landing page for yourself right here.

Source: AMD

Join PCPer and NVIDIA for a GeForce GTX TITAN Live Review!

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 21, 2013 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: video, titan, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, geforce titan, geforce

Missed the live event?  Here is the full replay feature me and Tom Petersen!

Hopefully by now you have read our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB graphics card that was just released.  This is definitely a product release that highlights a generations of GPUs and I would really encourage you to read the article and offer your feedback.

However, we have another event to promote right now: NVIDIA's Tom Petersen will be joining me on PCPer Live! at 11am PT / 2pm ET to talk about the GeForce GTX TITAN and its performance, features, pricing and more! 

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GeForce GTX TITAN Live Review Stream

11am PT / 2pm ET - February 21st

PC Perspective Live! Page

If you have questions for Tom or me, you can leave them in the comments below (no registration required)!

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TITAN up your ... you know

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 21, 2013 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: titan, nvidia, kepler, gtx titan, gk110, geforce

Before getting into the performance of the $1000 NVIDIA TITAN it is worth looking at the improvements NVIDIA has added to this GK110 beast.  At 10.5" long it is a half inch longer than a 680 and a full 1.5" shorter than a 690, which allows it to fit in a wider variety of cases and the vastly improved thermals allow the usage of much smaller cases than other high end GPUs can manage without exotic cooling solutions.  There is also a reduction in noise generated, to the point where SLI'd TITANs run quieter than some single card solutions, not to mention much faster.  To take a look at just how much faster you can see [H]ard|OCP's results which you can compare to Ryan's results.

H_TITAN.jpg

"NVIDIA is launching a TITAN today, literally, the new GeForce GTX TITAN video card is here, and we have a lot to talk about. We test single-GPU and 2-way SLI today, with more to follow later. We will find out if this TITAN of a video card really is worth it, and just who this video card is designed for. Be prepared to face the fastest single-GPU video card."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

LucidLogix Virtu MVP 2.0 Software Suite Now Available

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 20, 2013 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: lucid, virtu MVP, virtu, hyperformance

As promised at CES, Lucidlogix has released their Virtu MVP 2.0 for purchase to anyone who wants to buy it.  Their GPU Virtualization software for SandyBridge and IvyBridge based systems with a discrete card allows you to jump back a forth between the embedded GPU on your processor and the graphics card without needing to move monitor cables or reboot.  That allows you to save your laptops battery life when the discrete GPU is not needed but to instantly enable it the second you fire up a compatible game, the list of which has grown since the release of their original Virtu MVP.  They have also improved their Virtual VSync and Hyperformance features which we reviewed last summer on an Origin laptop

The move to selling the product directly to consumers is beneficial as previously you could only get the software and updates from the manufacturer of your motherboard or your laptop.  As anyone who has dealt with the infrequency graphics driver updates from manufacturers is well aware, the updates are few and far between.  It is much better to be able to acquire the software from the vendor who creates it in the first place.  Head over to Lucidlogix to read more and perhaps buy one of the three versions available.

lucidlogix.png

"The optimal system specifications Virtu MVP 2.0 include an Intel® Core™ i5 (Sandy Bridge) on an Intel Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge motherboard with an NVIDIA® Geforce 460GTX or similar or better AIB and 2GB or more memory running Windows® 7 or Windows 8 in either 32-bit or 64-bit modes.

With special launch prices, Virtu MVP 2.0 is now available in three models: Basic with GPU virtualization for $34.99 (USD), Standard with Virtual Vsync for $44.99 and Pro with Hyperformance and Virtual Vsync for $54.99."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Lucidlogix

PCPer Live! Crysis 3 Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards from AMD!

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle reloaded, live, Crysis 3, crysis, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can still catch the YouTube replay right here!!

On February 19th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Crysis 3.  If there has ever been a game that defined the world of PC gaming graphics and technology, it is the Crysis series. 

"Sure, but can it play Crysis?"

There is probably no more famous line of dialogue that pigeon hole's new hardware releases. 

With the release of the latest version of Crysis 3 on February 19th, we will be teaming up with AMD once again to provide a fun and exciting PCPer Game Stream that includes game demonstrations and of course, prizes and game keys for those that watch the event LIVE! 

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Crysis 3 Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - February 19th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle Reloaded game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy, you could get some amazing free games including:

  • Radeon HD 7900 Series
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
  • Radeon HD 7800 Series
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
  • Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Set
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
    • FREE Far Cry 3
    • FREE Hitman: Absolution
    • FREE Sleeping Dogs

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Crysis 3 Game Stream:

  • 2 x Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics cards
  • 4 x Combo codes for both Crysis 3 AND Bioshock Infinite

Pretty nice, huh?  All you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on February 19th for some PC gaming fun!!

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We interrupt your Titan previews for a look at comparitive Catalyst version performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, 2012

Today might be Titan Preview Day as you can see from the links below as well as Ryan's article here, but [H]ard|OCP would like to offer you solid performance numbers instead.  They took a look back at the Catalyst 12.x series of drivers that AMD GPU owners have been using over the past year. With the HD 7970 and HD 7950 they tested 7 of AMD's past drivers for performance on four popular games.  The findings are fairly clear, after a poor start to the year AMD's drivers showed improved performance as the year went on, with leaps after games were released and the driver could be optimized for speed.  The HD7970 did improve over the year but it was the 7950 that proved to receive the biggest gains.

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"We continuing our look at driver performance improvements over time by evaluating AMD’s 2012 driver performances on both the AMD Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 video cards. We will see how drivers from the beginning of the year to the end of year have impacted real world gameplay performance . "

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 01:50 PM |
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 - 01:38 PM |
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 - 01:50 PM |
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...

7970.jpg

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 - 01:43 PM |
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 - 05:33 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?

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"GALAXY has a factory overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 complete with a custom cooler. Today, we have it on our test bench to run against an AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and an AMD Radeon HD 7850 to see which is the go-to card at the $200 price point now in the latest games with the latest drivers."

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

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 - 12:33 PM |
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!

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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.

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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 - 10:03 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 - 06:36 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 - 02:30 PM |
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.

nsr22.jpg

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.

nsr3.jpg

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

nsr4.jpg

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 - 03:29 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 - 08:04 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 - 02:53 PM |
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 - 03:53 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.

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"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 - 02:42 PM |
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.

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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