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Subject: Graphics Cards | June 21, 2016 - 08:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: rx 480, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, Polaris, amd
The AMD Radeon RX 480 is set to launch on June 29th, but a VisionTek model was published a little early (now unpublished -- thanks to our long-time reader, Arbiter, for the heads up). Basically all specifications were already shared, and Ryan wrote about them on June 1st, but the final clock rates were unknown. The VisionTek one, on the other hand, has it listed as 1120 MHz (5.16 TFLOPs) with a boost of 1266 MHz (5.83 TFLOPs).
Granted, it's possible that the VisionTek model could be overclocked, even though the box and product page doesn't mark it as a factory-overclocked SKU. Also, 5.16 TFLOPs and 5.83 TFLOPs align pretty close to AMD's “>5 TFLOPs” rating, so it's unlikely that the canonical specifications slide underneath this one. Also, TFLOP ratings are basically a theoretical maximum performance, so real-world benchmarks need to be considered for a true measure of performance. That said, this would put the stock RX 480 in the range of a GTX 980 (somewhere above its listed boost clock, and slightly below its expected TFLOP rating when overclocked).
There is no price listed for the 8GB model, but the 4GB version will be $199 USD.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 21, 2016 - 05:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, fermi, kepler, maxwell, pascal, gf100, gf110, GK104, gk110, GM204, gm200, GP104
Techspot published an article that compared eight GPUs across six, high-end dies in NVIDIA's last four architectures: Fermi to Pascal. Average frame rates were listed across nine games, each measured at three resolutions:1366x768 (~720p HD), 1920x1080 (1080p FHD), and 2560x1600 (~1440p QHD).
The results are interesting. Comparing GP104 to GF100, mainstream Pascal is typically on the order of four times faster than big Fermi. Over that time, we've had three full generational leaps in fabrication technology, leading to over twice the number of transistors packed into a die that is almost half the size. It does, however, show that prices have remained relatively constant, except that the GTX 1080 is sort-of priced in the x80 Ti category despite the die size placing it in the non-Ti class. (They list the 1080 at $600, but you can't really find anything outside the $650-700 USD range).
It would be interesting to see this data set compared against AMD. It's informative for an NVIDIA-only article, though.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2016 - 04:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10, ubuntu, R9 Fury, nvidia, linux, GTX1070, amd
Phoronix wanted to test out how the new GTX 1070 and the R9 Fury compare on Ubuntu with new drivers and patches, as well as contrasting how they perform on Windows 10. There are two separate articles as the focus is not old silicon versus new but the performance comparison between the two operating systems. AMD was tested with the Crimson Edition 16.6.1 driver, AMDGPU-PRO Beta 2 (16.20.3) driver as well as Mesa 12.1-dev. There were interesting differences between the tested games as some would only support one of the two Linux drivers. The performance also varies based on the game engine, with some coming out in ties, others seeing Windows 10 pull ahead and even some cases where your performance on Linux was significantly better.
NVIDIA's GTX 1080 and 1070 were tested using the 368.39 driver release for Windows and the 367.27 driver for Ubuntu. Again we see mixed results, depending on the game Linux performance might actually beat out Windows, especially if OpenGL is an option.
Check out both reviews to see what performance you can expect from your GPU when gaming under Linux.
"Yesterday I published some Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 16.04 Linux gaming benchmarks using the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards. Those numbers were interesting with the NVIDIA proprietary driver but for benchmarking this weekend are Windows 10 results with Radeon Software compared to Ubuntu 16.04 running the new AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver as well as the latest Git code for a pure open-source driver stack."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 FE Overclocking @ [H]ard|OCP
- DX11 vs DX12 Intel 4770K vs 5960X Framerate Scaling @ [H]ard|OCP
- MSI GTX 1080 & GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G Overclocking Review @ OCC
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 Review @HiTech Legion
- Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming RGB @ Kitguru
- ASUS GTX 1080 Strix Gaming 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon R7 360 GREEN iCooler OC 2GB Graphics Card Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2016 - 01:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tesla, pascal, nvidia, GP100
GP100, the “Big Pascal” chip that was announced at GTC, will be coming to PCIe for enterprise and supercomputer customers in Q4 2016. Previously, it was only announced using NVIDIA's proprietary connection. In fact, they also gave themselves some lead time with their first-party DGX-1 system, which retails for $129,000 USD, although we expect that was more for yield reasons. Josh calculated that each GPU in that system is worth more than the full wafer that its die was manufactured on.
This brings us to the PCIe versions. Interestingly, they have been down-binned from the NVLink version. The boost clock has been dropped to 1300 MHz, from 1480 MHz, although that is matched with a slightly lower TDP (250W versus the NVLink's 300W). This lowers the FP16 performance to 18.7 TFLOPs, down from 21.2, FP32 performance to 9.3 TFLOPs, down from 10.6, and FP64 performance to 4.7 TFLOPs, down from 5.3. This is where we get to the question: did NVIDIA reduce the clocks to hit a 250W TDP and be compatible with the passive cooling technology that previous Tesla cards utilize, or were the clocks dropped to increase yield?
They are also providing a 12GB version of the PCIe Tesla P100. I didn't realize that GPU vendors could selectively disable HBM2 stacks, but NVIDIA disabled 4GB of memory, which also dropped the bus width to 3072-bit. You would think that the simplicity of the circuit would want to divide work in a power-of-two fashion, but, knowing that they can, it makes me wonder why they did. Again, my first reaction is to question GP100 yield, but you wouldn't think that HBM, being such a small part of the die, is something that they can reclaim a lot of chips by disabling a chunk, right? That is, unless the HBM2 stacks themselves have yield issues -- which would be interesting.
There is also still no word on a 32GB version. Samsung claimed the memory technology, 8GB stacks of HBM2, would be ready for products in Q4 2016 or early 2017. We'll need to wait and see where, when, and why it will appear.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 18, 2016 - 10:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
GeForce Hotfix 368.51 drivers have been released by NVIDIA through their support website. This version only officially addresses flickering at high refresh rates, although its number has been incremented quite a bit since the last official release (368.39) so it's possible that it rolls in other changes, too. That said, I haven't heard too many specific issues with 368.39, so I'm not quite sure what that would be.
As always with a hotfix driver, NVIDIA pushed it out with minimal testing. It should pretty much only be installed if you have a specific issue (particularly the listed one(s)) and you don't want to wait until one is released that both NVIDIA and Microsoft looked over (although Microsoft's WHQL certification has been pretty lax since Windows 10).
Oddly enough, they only seem to list 64-bit links for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. I'm not sure whether this issue doesn't affect Windows 7 and 32-bit versions of 8.1 and 10, or if they just didn't want to push the hotfix out to them for some reason.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 14, 2016 - 01:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: GTX1070, nvidia, overclocking
Overclocking the new Pascal GPUs can be accomplished with the EVGA Precision X tool as it allows you to bump up the power, temperature target and fan speed as well as the frequencies for the GPU and memory easily and effectively. [H]ard|OCP set out to push the 1070 as far as it would go with this software in a recent review. The power target can only be increased to 112%, which they implemented along with setting the fan to 100% as this is about the maximum performance, not about peace and quiet. After quite a bit of testing they settled on 2062MHz GPU and 4252MHz RAM clocks as the highest stable frequency this particular card could manage. The results show a card which leaves the TITAN X in the dirt and this card does not even have a custom cooler; we anxiously await the non-Founders Edition releases to see what they can accomplish.
"In our overclocking review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition we will see how far we can overclock the GPU and memory and then compare performance with GeForce GTX TITAN X and GeForce GTX 980 Ti. How high will she go? Can the $449 GTX 1070 outperform a $1000 GTX TITAN X? The answer is exciting."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 On Linux: Testing With OpenGL, OpenCL, CUDA & Vulkan @ Phoronix
- MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X Review - It's RGB! @ HiTech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GTX 1080 & GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G Review @ OCC
- Deep Learning & CUDA Benchmarks On The GeForce GTX 1080 Under Linux @ Phoronix
- Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 GAMING @ Guru of 3D
- MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8 GB @ techPowerUp
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | June 13, 2016 - 03:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, Polaris, Zen, Summit Ridge, rx 480, rx 470, rx 460
AMD has just unveiled their entire RX line of graphics cards at E3 2016's PC Gaming Show. It was a fairly short segment, but it had a few interesting points in it. At the end, they also gave another teaser of Summit Ridge, which uses the Zen architecture.
First, Polaris. As we know, the RX 480 was going to bring >5 TFLOPs at a $199 price point. They elaborated that this will apply to the 4GB version, which likely means that another version with more VRAM will be available, and that implies 8GB. Beyond the RX 480, AMD has also announced the RX 470 and RX 460. Little is known about the 470, but they mentioned that the 460 will have a <75W TDP. This is interesting because the PCIe bus provides 75W of power. This implies that it will not require any external power, and thus could be a cheap and powerful (in terms of esports titles) addition to an existing desktop. This is an interesting way to use the power savings of the die shrink to 14nm!
They also showed off a backpack VR rig. They didn't really elaborate, but it's here.
As for Zen? AMD showed the new architecture running DOOM, and added the circle-with-Zen branding to a 3D model of a CPU. Zen will be coming first to the enthusiast category with (up to?) eight cores, two threads per core (16 threads total).
The AMD Radeon RX 480 will launch on June 29th for $199 USD (4GB). None of the other products have a specific release date.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 09:45 PM | Scott Michaud
That wasn't even capslock. That was pure shift key.
A little after Computex, GIGABYTE announced their GTX 1080 XTREME GAMING graphics card, which should be their flagship of the GeForce GTX 1080 line. It is a three-fan design, although the center fan overlaps with the two edge ones. It will also accept two, eight-pin PCIe power connectors, which gives a theoretical maximum draw of 375W.
Also, taking a cue from EVGA's recent VR-Edition 980 Ti, GIGABYTE includes a I/O front panel for cases with an extra 5.25” bay. This contains two HDMI ports and two USB 3.0 ports to allow users to quickly connect VR headsets to and from their PC. When connected, it disables two DisplayPort outputs on the card, routing them to the front-panel's HDMI instead. I'm not exactly clear on why you would need two HDMI connections in the front, but okay.
They are also releasing their own SLI HB connector, which they claim will support speeds up to 1080 MHz. The SLI HB standard, from NVIDIA, clocks up to 650 MHz. We assume that this is a typo on GIGABYTE's part (having 1080 on the brain for some reason...) but we've contacted NVIDIA to see what's up.
Currently no pricing or availability information. It comes with a three year warranty that can be upgraded to a four-year warranty by registering your product and signing up to their “XTREME GAMING Club”.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 08:44 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sli, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GP104, geforce, 4-way sli, 3-way sli
IMPORTANT UPDATE: After writing this story, but before publication, we went to NVIDIA for comment. As we were getting ready to publish, the company updated me with a shift in its stance on multi-GPU configurations. NVIDIA will no longer require an "enthusiast key" to enable SLI on more than two GPUs. However, NVIDIA will also only be enabling 3-Way and 4-Way SLI for a select few applications. More details are at the bottom of the story!
You'll likely recall that during our initial review of the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card, we mentioned that NVIDIA was going to be moving people towards the idea that "only 2-Way SLI will be supported" and promoted. There would still be a path for users that wanted 3 and 4 GPU configurations anyway, and it would be called the Enthusiast Key.
As it turns out, after returning from an AMD event focused on its upcoming Polaris GPUs, I happen to have amassed a total of four GeForce GTX 1080 cards.
Courtesy of some friends at EVGA and two readers that were awesome enough to let me open up their brand new hardware for a day or so, I was able to go through the 3-Way and 4-Way SLI configuration process. Once all four were installed, and I must point out how great it is that each card only required a single 8-pin power connector, I installed the latest NVIDIA driver I had on hand, 368.19.
Knowing about the need for the Enthusiast Key, and also knowing that I did not yet have one and that the website that was supposed to be live to enable me to get one is still not live, I thought I might have stumbled upon some magic. The driver appeared to let me enable SLI anyway.
Enthusiasts will note however that the green marker under the four GPUs with the "SLI" text is clearly only pointing at two of the GTX 1080s, leaving the remaining two...unused. Crap.
At this point, if you have purchased more than two GeForce GTX 1080 cards are simply out of luck and are waiting on NVIDIA to make good on it's promise to allow for 3-Way and 4-Way configurations via the Enthusiast Key. Or some other way. It's way too late now to simply say "we aren't supporting it at all."
While I wait...what is there for a gamer with four GeForce GTX 1080 cards to do? Well, you could run Ashes of the Singularity. It's multi-GPU mode uses MDA mode, which means the game engine itself accesses each GPU on its own, without the need for the driver to handle anything regarding GPU load balancing. Unfortunately, Ashes only supports two GPUs today.
Well...you could run an OpenCL based benchmark like LuxMark that access all the GPUs independently as well.
I did so, and the result is an impressive score of 17,127!!
How does that compare to some other products?
The four GTX 1080 cards produce a score that is 2.57x the result provided by the AMD Radeon Pro Duo and 2.29x the score of SLI GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards. Nice!
So there you go! We are just as eager to get our hands on the ability to test 3-Way and 4-Way SLI with new Pascal GPUs as some of the most extreme and dedicated enthusiasts out there are. With any luck, NVIDIA will finally figure out a way to allow it - no matter how it finally takes place.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Before going to press with this story I asked NVIDIA for comment directly: when was the community finally going to get the Enthusiast Key website to unlock 3-Way and 4-Way SLI for those people crazy enough to have purchased that many GTX 1080s? The answer was quite surprising: NVIDIA is backing away from the idea of an "Enthusiast Key" and will no longer require it for enabling 3-Way and 4-Way SLI.
Here is the official NVIDIA statement given to PC Perspective on the subject:
With the GeForce 10-series we’re investing heavily in 2-way SLI with our new High Bandwidth bridge (which doubles the SLI bandwidth for faster, smoother gaming at ultra-high resolutions and refresh rates) and NVIDIA Game Ready Driver SLI profiles. To ensure the best possible gaming experience on our GeForce 10-series GPUs, we’re focusing our efforts on 2-way SLI only and will continue to include 2-way SLI profiles in our Game Ready Drivers.
DX12 and NVIDIA VR Works SLI technology also allows developers to directly implement and control multi-GPU support within their games. If a developer chooses to use these technologies then their game will not need SLI profiles. Some developers may also decide to support more than 2 GPUs in their games. We continue to work with all developers creating games and VR applications that take advantage of 2 or more GPUs to make sure they’ll work great on GeForce 10-series GPUs.
For our overclocking community, our Game Ready Drivers will also include SLI profiles for 3- and 4-way configurations for specific OC applications only, including Fire Strike, Unigine and Catzilla.
NVIDIA clearly wants to reiterate that only 2-Way SLI will get the attention that we have come to expect from the GeForce driver dev team. As DX12 and Vulkan next-generation APIs become more prolific, the game developers will still have the ability to directly access more than two GeForce GTX 10-series GPUs, though I expect that be a very narrow window of games simply due to development costs and time.
NVIDIA will enable support for three and four card configurations in future drivers (without a key) for specific overclocking/benchmarking tools only, as a way to make sure the GeForce brand doesn't fall off the 3DMark charts. Only those specific applications will be able operate in the 3-Way and 4-Way SLI configurations that you have come to know. There are no profiles to change manually and even the rare games that might have "just worked" with three or four GPUs will not take advantage of more than two GTX 10-series cards. It's fair to say at this point that except for the benchmarking crowd, NVIDIA 3-Way and 4-Way SLI is over.
We expect the "benchmark only" mode of 3-Way and 4-Way SLI to be ready for consumers with the next "Game Ready" driver release. If you happened to get your hands on more than two GTX 1080s but aren't into benchmarking, then find those receipts and send a couple back.
So there you have it. Honestly, this is what I was expecting from NVIDIA with the initial launch of Pascal and the GeForce GTX 1080/1070 and I was surprised when I first heard about the idea of the "enthusiast key." It took a bit longer than expected, and NVIDIA will get more flak for the iterated dismissal of this very niche, but still pretty cool, technology. In the end, this won't have much impact on the company's bottom line as the quantity of users that were buying 3+ GTX GPUs for a single system was understandably small.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 06:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, giveaway, e3 2016, E3
Update, June 8th @ 8:15pm: Just to clarify, this giveaway is not affiliated with PC Perspective. We just found it on Twitter and thought that our readers might like to have a chance at free hardware.
Fairly simple bit of news for this one. NVIDIA has announced that they will be giving away $100,000 of prizes to people who message @NVIDIA and use the #GameReady hashtag, on either Twitter or Instagram, during one of five E3 keynotes.
Sunday (June 12th, 2016):
- EA at 1PM PDT / 4PM EDT / 8PM GMT
- Bethesda at 7PM PDT / 10PM EDT / 2AM GMT (Monday)
Monday (June 13th, 2016):
- Microsoft at 9:30AM PDT / 12:30PM EDT / 4:30PM GMT
- PC Gaming Show at 12PM PDT / 3PM EDT / 7PM GMT
- Ubisoft at 1PM PDT / 4PM EDT / 8PM GMT
Interestingly, Sony was not listed on their rundown. Sure, they rarely have anything relevant to PC gamers, but it's still an amusing omission none-the-less.
According to their Terms and Conditions, the sweepstakes is open to a large portion of the world. They will be giving away fifty GTX 1080s, “up to” thirty $500 Steam Gift Cards, and “an ultimate PC battlestation”??? I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds like Mark Hamill will be trying to destroy it a few times.
E3 starts this weekend! Stay tuned for coverage. (You can also sleep, eat, and do laundry, though.)
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 02:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
NVIDIA has released a new graphics driver, in line with EA's new title, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. Version 368.39 is another of their WHQL-certified, Game Ready-branded drivers that integrates all of their tweaks to improve the game's performance, including an updated SLI profile. It also includes performance tweaks for Insomniac's Oculus-exclusive VR title, Edge of Nowhere, which released on June 6th.
Beyond performance enhancements for specific titles, the driver also includes new features and fixes to known bugs. On the feature side of things, a handful of OpenGL extensions were added to support new features in Pascal. Extensions allow hardware vendors to add features without the Khronos Group needing to officially support it in the standard (although many turn multi-vendor and eventually end up in a later core specification). In this case, NVIDIA has added Single Pass Stereo to increase VR performance, Lens Matched Shading to also increase VR performance, Improved Conservative Rasterization to reduce the chance that a pixel fragment will be missed during rasterization of degenerate or otherwise odd geometry, and Double Precision Atomic Operations to increase reliability when doing GPU-compute on 64-bit, double-precision values in OpenGL.
On Windows 10, seven bugs were fixed in 368.39, and two of those were fairly high profile. First, the GTX 1080 Founders Edition fan speed revving issue has been fixed, as NVIDIA mentioned a few days ago. Second, performance issues (stuttering) in Total War: WARHAMMER were fixed. They also fixed an issue where Metal Gear Solid V would fail to launch (white screen).
The new drivers are available on GeForce Experience or their website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 08:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zotac, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GP104, asus
Update @ 10:30pm, June 7th: Annnnnnnnd it's gone.
Update @ 9:45pm, June 7th: ASUS is now out-of-stock, so I crossed out the relevant links. ZOTAC is still around for now.
Update @ 8:45pm, June 7th: Turns out that it's also available on Newegg US. In fact, it's possible that both sites share from the same stock pool, at least for the
US ASUS and US ZOTAC cards, given that Newegg Canada says it ships them from the US.
A couple of GeForce GTX 1080s are available at Newegg Canada at the moment. Both models, one from
ASUS and one from ZOTAC, are listed at $909. This seems high, but it's actually the current US-to-Canada exchange rate from the $699 MSRP. If you were interested in the Founders Edition cards, then you have a brief moment to pick one up.
That said, it's looking like the custom-cooled versions might be a better bet. The EVGA dual-fan GAMING SC ACX 3.0 version is listed at $824.99 CDN (~$635 USD) and, from what we've seen so far, seems to be quite a bit cooler than the Founders Edition (albeit we haven't tested sound levels yet). Those should be coming out fairly soon, and will apparently lean on the cheaper side of the Founders Edition fence.
But, if you don't care, go go go go go.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 03:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: geforce, GP104, gtx 1070, nvidia, pascal
With Computex behind us it is time to catch up on all the reviews which were launched during the show, including [H]ard|OCP's review of the GTX 1070 Founders Edition. Their testing was done using an NVIDIA provided driver, GeForce 368.19 the same one which Ryan used in his review. They did not have a chance to delve into overclocking or utilizing the new power settings. From their testing they concluded the GTX 1070 is a great upgrade for those using a vanilla GTX 980 or R9 390X, while the card performs faster than a R9 Fury X or GTX 980 Ti the jump is not quite enough to recommend dumping it for anything less than a GTX1080.
"In our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card we will explore the price competitive performance and find out what kind of gameplay advantage the new GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition offers over the previous generation cards. We compare both the GTX 980 and Radeon R9 Fury GPUs to the new GTX 1070"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Asus Republic Of Gamers Strix GTX 1080 Aura RGB OC @ Kitguru
- Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Overclocking & Best Playable Settings At 4K & Ultrawide @ Techgage
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Overclocking Review @ OCC
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 On Linux: OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan Performance @ Phoronix
- Performance & Perf-Per-Watt From NVIDIA's GeForce 9800GTX To GTX 1080 @ Phoronix
- OpenGL Performance & Perf-Per-Watt From The Radeon HD 3850 Through R9 Fury @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 08:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd
Over the last few months, AMD has been fighting their reputation for being slow and unreliable with driver updates. Ryan wrote a piece about it after AMD discussed the issue with him. He noted that, while the increase is noticeable and great, it takes time and consistency to trust that a company will provide their products with a certain level of support.
Since then, AMD has released two drivers in April, three in May, and now, already, one in June. Each of these provide enhancements for individual games, right in line with their release dates, as well as fix several issues along the way. Crimson Edition 16.6.1 aligns with Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, which makes this post surprisingly difficult to type. It also includes enhancements for Paragon and a Crossfire profile for Dark Souls III. If users were experiencing flickering and corruption with videos in a web browser, AMD claims that was also fixed in this version.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 05:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, motherboard, gtx 1070, GP104, colorful
So here's an interesting bit of news from Colorful, via Videocardz and LG Nilsson. Remember when on-board graphics was a pejorative? Since the GPUs that are attached to many CPUs tend to sufficiently cover everything below a discrete graphics add-in board, there is not a whole lot of mind-share for discrete, on-board GPUs. You get the occasional desktop-style device with a mobile add-in module, but that's about it.
Image Credit: LG Nilsson (via Videocardz)
In this case, it looks like Colorful, the Chinese PC hardware manufacturer, integrated the required components from a GTX 1070 directly onto a motherboard's PCB. We've heard rumors that GP104 would be available in mobile form-factors in a few months, so it's possible that this draws from some laptop initiatives, but it's interesting to see others consider it too. As Videocardz pointed out, this is not an ATX-standard board, so it's possible that Colorful is planning on getting into (or supporting someone getting into) small form factor desktops or is building hardware for all-in-one PCs.
So what's next? A vendor like ASUS making a VRWorks Audio sound card with integrated Pascal?
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | June 6, 2016 - 07:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: hsa 1.1, hsa
The HSA Foundation released version 1.1 of their specification, which focuses on “multi-vendor” compatibility. In this case, multi-vendor doesn't refer to companies that refused to join the HSA Foundation, namely Intel and NVIDIA, but rather multiple types of vendors. Rather than aligning with AMD's focus on CPU-GPU interactions, HSA 1.1 includes digital signal processors (DSPs), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and other accelerators. I can see this being useful in several places, especially on mobile, where cameras, sound processors, and CPU cores, and a GPU regularly share video buffers.
That said, the specification also mentions “more efficient interoperation with non-HSA compliant devices”. I'm not quite sure what that specifically refers to, but it could be important to keep an eye on for future details -- whether it is relevant for Intel and NVIDIA hardware (and so forth).
Charlie, down at SemiAccurate, notes that HSA 1.1 will run on all HSA 1.0-compliant hardware. This makes sense, but I can't see where this is explicitly mentioned in their press release. I'm guessing that Charlie was given some time on a conference call (or face-to-face) regarding this, but it's also possible that he may be mistaken. It's also possible that it is explicitly mentioned in the HSA Foundation's press blast and I just fail at reading comprehension.
If so, I'm sure that our comments will highlight my error.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 5, 2016 - 02:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gigabyte, external gpu
External GPUs can be a good idea. If it is affordable, easy, and not too big, users can augment their laptop CPU, which is probably good enough to at least run most tasks, with a high-end GPU. While GPUs are more efficient that CPUs, the tasks that they are expected to do are so much larger that a decent graphics chip is difficult to cram into laptop form factor... for the most part.
Image Credit: Tom's Hardware
Preamble aside, it's been tried and dropped numerous times over the last decade, but the last generation seems to be getting a little traction. Razer added the feature to their relatively popular Blade line of laptops, and AMD, who was one of the companies to try it several years ago, is pushing it now with their XConnect technology. Even Microsoft sort-of does this with their Surface Book, and it's been a small source of problems for them.
Now Gigabyte, at Computex, announced that they are investigating prototypes. According to Tom's Hardware, their current attempt stands upright, which is likely to take up less desk space. Looking at it, I could see it hiding in the space between my monitors and the corner of the room (because my desk slides into the corner). Of course, in my case, I have a desktop PC, so I'm not the target demographic, but who knows? It's possible that a laptop user might have a similar setup to me. It's still pretty big, though.
Currently, Gigabyte limits the power supply to 250W, which drops GPU support to under 175W TDP. In other words? Too small for a GeForce GTX 1080. The company did tell Tom's Hardware that they are considering upping that to 350W, which would allow 260W of load, which allows all 1x PCIe 8-pin graphics cards, and thus many (but not all) GTX 1080s.
No pricing or availability yet, of course. It's just a prototype.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 4, 2016 - 04:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, pascal
Normally, when a GPU developer creates a laptop SKU, they re-use the desktop branding, add an M at the end, but release a very different, significantly slower part. This changed with the GTX 980, as NVIDIA cherry-picked the heck out of their production to find chips that could operate full-speed at a lower-than-usual TDP. With less power (and cooling) to consider, they were sent to laptop manufacturers and integrated into high-end designs.
They still had the lower-performance 980M, though, which was confusing for potential customers. You needed to know to avoid the M, and trust the product page to correctly add the M as applicable. This is where PCGamer's scoop comes into play. Apparently, NVIDIA will stop “producing separate M versions of its desktop GPUs”. Also, they are expected to release their 10-series desktop GPUs to their laptop partners by late-summer.
Last time, NVIDIA took almost a year to bin enough GPUs for laptops. While we don't know how long they've been stockpiling GP104 GPUs, this, if the rumors are true, would just be about three months of lead-time for the desktop SKUs. Granted, Pascal is significantly more efficient than Maxwell. Maxwell tried to squeeze extra performance out of an existing fabrication node, while Pascal is a relatively smaller chip, benefiting from the industry's double-shrink in process technology. It's possible that they didn't need to drop the TDP threshold that far below what they accept for desktop.
For us desktop users, this also suggests that NVIDIA is not having too many issues with yield in general. I mean, if they were expecting GPU shortages to persist for months, you wouldn't expect that they would cut their supply further with a new product segment, particularly one that should require both decent volume and well-binned chips. This, again, might mean that we'll see desktop GPUs restock soon. Either that, or NVIDIA significantly miscalculated demand for new GPUs, and they needed to fulfill partner obligations that they made before reality struck.
Call it wishful thinking, but I don't think it's the latter.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 4, 2016 - 02:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1080, zotac
(Most of) NVIDIA's AIB partners have been flooding out announcements of custom GTX 1080 designs. Looking over them, it seems like they fall into two camps: one believes 1x eight-pin PCIe power is sufficient for the GP104, and the other thinks that 1x eight-pin + 1x six-pin PCIe could be useful.
ZOTAC, on the other hand, seems to believe that both are underestimating. Excluding the Founders Edition, both of their GTX 1080 designs utilize 2x eight-pin PCIe connectors. This gives their cards a theoretical maximum of 375W, versus 225W of the Founders Edition. At this point, considering the Founders Edition can reach 2.1 GHz with good enough binning, I'm guessing that it's either there simply because they can, or they just didn't want to alter their existing design. Not that, if you only have 6-pin PCIe connectors on your power supply, ZOTAC provides the dual-six-to-eight-pin adapters in the box.
The two SKUs that they are releasing, again, apart from the Founders Edition, vary by their heatsink. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP has a dual-fan IceStorm cooler, while the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme has a triple-fan IceStorm cooler. (IceStorm is the brand name of ZOTAC's custom cooler.) Other than the 2x 8-pin PCIe connector, there's not much else to mention. ZOTAC has not settled on a default base, boost, or memory clock, and you will probably be overclocking it yourself (either manually or by using an automatic overclocker) anyway. Both cards have a back plate, if that's something you're interested in.
Once again, no pricing or availability. It shouldn't be too long, though.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 4, 2016 - 01:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, msi, hydro gfx, GTX 1080, corsair
Last week, we wrote about the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 SEA HAWK. This design took their AERO cooler and integrated a Corsair self-contained water cooler into it. In response, Corsair, not to be outdone by MSI's Corsair partnership, partnered with MSI to release their own graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 version of the Corsair Hydro GFX.
The MSI SEA HAWK
Basically, like we saw with their previous Hydro GFX card, Corsair and MSI are each selling basically the same graphics card, just with their own branding. It sounds like the two cards, MSI's SEA HAWK and Corsair's Hydro GFX, differ slightly in terms of LED lighting, but it might just be a mismatch between Tom's Hardware's Computex coverage and MSI's product page. Otherwise, I would guess that the choice between these SKUs comes down to the company that you trust most for support, which I believe both Corsair and MSI hold a good reputation for, and the current price at the specific retailer you choose. Maybe some slight variation in clock rate?
The Corsair Hydro GFX at Computex
(Image Credit: Tom's Hardware)
For the record, both cards use a single, eight-pin PCIe power connector, rather than an eight-pin and a six-pin as we've seen a few, high-end boards opt for.
No idea about pricing or availability. Corsair's page still refers to the GTX 980 Ti model.