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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!
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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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 10, 2012 - 07:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: HD7950, his, ICEQ Turbo
The newest member of the HIS Radeon ICEQ Turbo family is the HD7950, with the distinctive and effective custom cooler that makes these cards stand out. As with many custom cards this one comes with a dual BIOS, one is locked at factory settings while the other allows you to overclock the card, so that even with an overclock that goes poorly you can always revert back to default clocks with the flick of a switch and a reboot. At full load the Guru of 3D never once saw this card hit more than a few degrees north of 60C, making it one of the coolest modern GPUs going and the fans never became audible. Once they got to overclocking, they loved what they saw even more. At $390 it does carry a bit of a premium so you'd best decide if low temps and noise are worth the extra investment.
"We review the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQX Turbo. The product comes factory overclocked very nicely for you as it is running a gentle 900 MHz clock frequency. HIS uses a custom PCB and dual-slot cooler making the card very easy to install. Despite that factory overclock and that cooler the noise levels remain at very low levels whereas the GPU temperatures remain downright excellent as we'll show you in this review."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD's Catalyst Evolution For The Radeon HD 7000 Series @ Phoronix
- AMD Catalyst 12.6 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 OC Vapor-X 1GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire HD 7950 FleX Dual-X Edition 3GB Review @ OCC
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC Dual-X fleX 3GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- HIS Radeon HD 7850 IceQ X TurboX 2GB in CrossFire @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Flex Edition @ Tweaktown
- VTX3D HD7870 EyeFinity 6 @ Kitguru
- MSI R7850 Power Edition OC Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition @ Kitguru
- ZOTAC GeForce GT 640 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- KFA2 GTX 680 EX OC 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- GeForce GTX 670 Graphics Cards from Gigabyte, Palit and Zotac @ X-bit Labs
- KFA2 GeForce GTX 680 LTD OC 2048MB @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC @ Legion Hardware
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 in 2-Way and 3-Way SLI Configurations @ X-bit Labs
- It's Time to Play: Zotac GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition @ X-bit Labs
- MSI GTX 670 Power Edition OC (Twin Frozr IV) @ Kitguru
- ASUS GTX 670 DirectCu II TOP Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI GTX 680 Lightning 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2012 - 05:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rumor, hd 7950 GHz edition, graphics card, gpu boost, gpu, amd
An interesting rumor floating around the internet concerns a new AMD 7950 graphics card. Specifically, a forum post over at EXPReview hinted at a new GHz Edition 7950 card. They reference a source and a photo of a graphics card with GHz Edition markings and two six-pin PCI-E power connectors. They further quoted a source that said AMD would be releasing a fourth card to its 7000-series lineup. In other words, there was not a whole lot to go on.
The alleged AMD Radeon HD 7950 GHz Edition graphics card.
I saw the rumor a couple of days ago, but decided to let it sink in for a bit before writing about it. After some thought and internal conversations, I think a 7950 GHz edition is plausible, and certainly a possibility. With the addition of the HD 7970 GHz Edition (which we recently reviewed), AMD now has a 7900 series part with its new GPU Boost (aka Powertune Boost) technology. Unfortunately, that tech can not simply be rolled out to the other existing 7900 series cards meaning that the original 7950 and 7970 are stuck without boost, leaving a gap in its lineup. Because of that, it seems logical that AMD would want to fill in that gap with a refreshed 7950 part that has higher clocks and GPU boost.
The 7970 GHz Edition helped AMD stay competitive with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 and enabled AMD to (re)claim it had the fastest single GPU card. That card was enabled by AMD finding extra headroom and higher bins in its 28nm GPUs. The current Radeon HD 7950 runs at an 800 MHz GPU clock speed and a 5GHz GDDR5 effective clock speed. It is unclear if the company’s chips have enough headroom that they are able to overclock 7950 oriented silicon or if they are simply reworking the bins such that the 7950 GHz Edition is either using silicon that just barely can’t make the cut as a 7970 GHz Edition or AMD is artificially locking down 7970 GHz chips to make these proposed 7950 GHz GPUs. Apart from the increased clock speeds and GPU Boost, the rumored card is said to maintain the same hardware specifications as the existing 7950. Mainly, that means 1,792 stream processors, 112 texture units, and the same number of transistors – 4.31 billion – on a 28nm process. In comparison, the 7970 has 2,048 stream processors and 128 texture units.
As mentioned above, such a chip sounds like a logical step for AMD. By refreshing the 7950 with higher clock speeds and adding GPU Boost functionality it will be fight with the GeForce 670 for the performance crown, and may even come close to 680/7970 performance when overclocked further. I do have a couple of questions about this rumored card, however. Specifically, I am wondering if AMD will simply refresh the 7900 series cards and let the original releases fade out as the stock dwindles or if they will keep them around. I’m leaning towards the later but it will still be interesting to see, and it also makes me wonder how much a 7950 GHz Edition will cost me.
I’m curious what you think about the rumor though, do you think it has any merit? And assuming this is legit, where do you think it will stand performance-wise versus NVIDIA’s products?
If you are curious about how AMD’s new GPU Boost technology works, be sure to check out our Live Review of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with AMD’s Evan Groenke where we are given a live demonstration showing how it works and some background on the technology.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 3, 2012 - 08:36 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: radeon, hd 7770, graphics cards, gpu, clock speed, amd
Gigabyte has had an overclocked version of the Radeon HD 7770 graphics card for a couple months now, but the company is already readying a second revision of the card. Curiously, the new revision will maintain the same hardware but will run at slightly lower clock speeds. While the current revision (1.0) runs at 1100 MHz and 5000 MHz for the GPU core and memory respectively, the updated graphics card will run at 1050 MHz and 4500 MHz.
Beyond the lower clock speeds, the new revision of the GV-R7770 OC card maintains the same PCB, chips, and cooler design. That hardware includes a 28nm GPU, 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface, and a PCI-E 3.0 expansion slot. Display outputs include a DVI port, full-size HDMI port, and two mini DisplayPorts. It also maintains the same custom Gigabyte heatsink and fan.
According to Videocardz, users will be able to identify which revision they are getting before handing over any money by looking at the box. Alternatively, users can identify which revision it is by looking at the sticker on the underside of the card just above the PCI-E connector. As a new revision, especially with the release of higher-binning chips from AMD, it is a bit confusing that the card is being released with lower clock speeds than its predecessor. It may be that the higher factory overclock was not stable on enough cards and Gigabyte was having to deal with too many returns – that’s only a guess though.
All the same, if you are shopping for a 7770 graphics card and have been considering the Gigabyte model, be sure to double check which revision you are getting.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 3, 2012 - 05:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: txaa, nvidia, graphics drivers, gpu, drivers, bug fixes
NVIDIA has made the latest version of its beta graphics card drivers available for download. With the new version 304.79 beta drivers comes TXAA support, numerous bug fixes, and the first unified Windows 8 and Windows 7 release.
We covered TXAA, or temporal anti-aliasing, in our NVIDIA GTX 680 2GB review. The new 304.79 drivers enable support for it in The Secret World MMORPG – following a game update. TXAA will come in two levels with TXAA 2 having quality greater than 8x MSAA, especially with in-game objects like chain link fences. The issue with TXAA adoption is that it must be implemented in the game engine, and cannot simply be added on after the fact via the NVIDIA control panel. Also, it is a feature that is exclusive to the company’s 600-series Kepler graphics cards.
There are a few other games that have claimed support for TXAA, but gamers will have to wait for a future update to take advantage of it.
The beta drivers are the first graphics drivers to be a unified release with support for both desktops and laptops running Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8. Further, the company has updated its SLI profiles to support End of Nations, Nexuiz, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Tornado Force, and Tribes: Ascend. The release also addresses a number of bugs. Some of the larger bug fixes include a fix for an issue that caused the PC to reboot instead of shut down, an issue that caused a black screen after driver installation, and a fix for flickering mouse cursors when hardware cursor is enabled in certain games.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 2, 2012 - 06:53 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: passive cooling, nvidia, kepler, gtx 680, gpu
Chinese graphics card manufacturer Colorful recently showed off a massive NVIDIA GTX 680 GPU. Massive may even be an understatement, as this card uses not one, but two heatsinks – and more heatpipes that Josh can shake a GPU at – to passively cool the fastest single GPU graphics card that NVIDIA has.
While there is no word on pricing, availability, or clock speeds, the iGAME NVIDIA GTX 680 is a silent GPU that is going to need a seriously large case. One heatsink attaches as you would expect, right over the GPU, GDDR5 memory, and VRMs. It uses 140 aluminum fins and seven heatpipes traveling the length of the PCB to distribute heat.
From there, six copper heatpipes transfer heat to a second heatsink with another 140 fins and seven heatpipes(!). This second heatsink appears to float over the top of the card, supported by the six heatpipes. The heatsink and PCB are black, with a blue piece covering the two heatsinks that features the iGame and NVIDIA GTX 680 logos. The back of the card features a single DVI port, a DisplayPort, and a full-size HDMI port.
For the PC gamer that values silent performance with the least compromises possible, this card is looking like the perfect solution – assuming it comes to market, of course. If you are interested in seeing more photos of this passively cooled GTX 680 graphics card, check out the EXPReview story.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 29, 2012 - 03:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, catalyst, catalyst 12.6, catalyst 12.7, whql, beta
AMD announced two new drivers today, the final WHQL build of the 12.6 beta that many are currently using as well as a new beta version of 12.7. These represent the first new drivers on AMD's new release schedule, instead of a new driver every month they plan on now releasing a new driver once it has been proven to improve performance and been fully tested. The 12.6 offers the same benefits as the 12.7, the difference is that the 12.7 introduces a new feature called the Video Codec Engine which is designed to provide powerful GPU support for video encoding tasks in applications such as vReveal and ArcSoft MediaConverter. Check out AMD's blog post here for more details and scroll down to read the highlights of the 12.6 WHQL driver.
Resolved issues in AMD Catalyst 12.6 WHQL and Catalyst 12.7 Beta
- Using AMD Radeon HD 7900 and AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series in TriFire or QuadFire configurations with AMD Eyefinity will no longer result in a BSOD when launching a DirectX application.
- Multi-display configurations will no longer BSOD at the desktop on AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs.
- Additional fixes for AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series GPUs hanging the system upon entering sleep.
- Some occurrences of this issue may be related to an outdated motherboard BIOS, however. Please ensure that your motherboard BIOS is up to date.
- Resolves AMD CrossFire technology scaling issues seen in AMD Catalyst 12.4 with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- AMD Catalyst Control Center: Overdrive page is no longer intermittently missing
- AMD Catalyst Control Center: GPU Activity gauge is no longer intermittently missing
- Using AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series GPUs in an AMD CrossFire technology config no longer results in system hangs after cinematics in Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Heroes and Generals: Blocky corruptions in scenes with smoke effects under the DirectX 11 mode are no longer experienced.
- DiRT Showdown: Improves scaling for AMD CrossFire technology configurations using the AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
- HDMI audio is no longer disabled if the connected HDTV is powered off/on.
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