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2010 was a tremendous year in terms of graphics. We saw both leading companies flesh out all of their DX11 offerings, and there were some distinct surprises and disappointments from both companies. 2011 looks to be a different beast, but as we head into the new year let us take a look where the two giants stand in terms of desktop graphics.
The New Cayman Architecture
The new Cayman architecture from AMD is the first big change to the GPU in some time introducing a new VLIW4 design as well as improved tessellation and AA performance. But can the HD 6970 and HD 6950 stand up to the power of the GF110-based GTX 580 and GTX 570 cards and how does PowerTune technology get into the mix?
A much needed update
AMD's Catalyst Control Center was in a desperate need of an update and today AMD is in the final stages of releasing one. We have a quick preview of the new Catalyst Control Center 2 with some mostly aesthetic changes and a few functional ones that should make frequency CCC users happy.
Another GF110 Part
The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB graphics card brings very similar specifications to the GTX 480 with slightly improved clocks and a lower price that should please gamers looking for a holiday upgrade. But how does it compare to the best from AMD's single GPU offerings or even the high-end GeForce GTX 580?
GF110 is a new GPU
NVIDIA is back with another new GPU, the GF110 aka the GeForce GTX 580. NVIDIA released the GTX 460 to target the $200 price point and now they are back to elevate their high-end game yet again with the full 512 CUDA core option we were always promised. How much better is it than the GTX 480 and what about that oddly placed dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970?
A new architecture we are all very familiar with
The new AMD Radeon HD 6800 series cards are here! Do the new HD 6870 and HD 6850 live up to the hype surrounding them over the past months and can their new $200 price tag stick it to NVIDIA's GTX 460 cards like AMD is hoping? Stop in and read the full review for the details!
MSI upgrades the GTX 460
The MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK graphics card is one of the best GF104 cards we have tested with a potent combination of hardware, software, cooler and overclocked settings. Of course with a design like this the stock settings were just the beginning as we pushed the clock speeds over 900 MHz!
The GeForce GT 430 GPU
The new GeForce GT 430 GPU is a replacement for the GT 220 that was never quite card that we fell in love with. NVIDIA's Fermi-based GF108 chip is definitely a better performance than anything from the GT200 generation but can it keep up with the AMD Radeon HD 5570 and HD 5550 GPUs and make a case for itself?
ASUS makes it better
ASUS is known for creating some truly unique graphics cards that differ wildly from the reference designs we are used to seeing. The ROG Matrix HD 5870 card with 2GB of memory is just that with overclocking options you need to see. For the more tame of us, there is the V2 HD 5870 that is cheaper and much simpler in feature set.
The final piece of the FirePro puzzle
The FirePro V9800 4GB graphics card is the new king of hill from AMD for the professional user and with support for 6 displays, it has a lot to offer. The Fermi-based Quadro cards offer strong competition in the performance field but in terms of features the FirePro line is still difficult to beat.
GF106 and the cores that love it
The new GeForce GTS 450 1GB graphics card is based on a completely new GF106 GPU that takes the Fermi architecture and pulls it back a bit more to make a lower cost, more efficient unit. Starting at $120 or so, the GTS 450 is the cheapest NVIDIA DX11 part available but how can it compare to the Radeon HD 5770?
Sapphire gets triple DVI working
Sapphire is the first card manufacturer to figure out a way to integrate a DisplayPort to HDMI/DVI adapter on the PCB of the card itself. What does that matter? Well it does enable the use of Eyefinity configurations without the need for an expensive active adapter thus lowering cost of entry for budget gamers that want an extra gaming setup. Come see if this card is worth the price!
Sonic means fast
Palit has prepared a highly overclocked GeForce GTX 460 graphics card for us today, their Sonic Platinum edition as they call it. The GPU on this puppy runs at 800 MHz while the shader cores come in at 1600 MHz, right out of the box. How do these overclocks equate in the real-world gaming and can this card rival the more expensive GTX 470 cards?
Old News at 4 Months of Age?
With all the GTX 460 news swirling around the industry, I thought I would take a step back and take a different angle at the older, but very powerful, GTX 480 from MSI. Tessellation performance and GPGPU application support are two areas where I focused on, and the results I have found are somewhat telling about the state of tessellation in the graphics industry.
Sorry Captain, the CPU can't push any more!
The full release of StarCraft II is nearly here and we are getting you prepared by detailing GPU performance across current and previous generation offerings. Will the new game require the likes of the GeForce GTX 480 to run or will your Radeon HD 4850 make it through? UPDATE: New ATI driver enables antialiasing options - fully tested inside!
Galaxy takes on the GTX 460
Galaxy has a slightly overclocked GeForce GTX 260 1GB card on the table today that sells for about the same price as the reference speed cards today. Of course, we didn't leave good enough alone and pushed the clocks quite a bit more without a problem. And can dual GTX 460s over take the GTX 480 in terms of performance per dollar?
The New Quadro Lineup
The new NVIDIA Quadro 5000 professional graphics card finally brings the Fermi GPU to the world it was originally designed for: content creators. Even though a whole new line of parts is being introduced it is really the 5000 model that will see the brunt of attention with a modest (!!) $2250 price tag. Performance might lag in gaming (clocks and specs are under a GTX 465) but in the world of CAD, design, animation and more the NVIDIA card has the edge over AMD's FirePro line.
A quick lineup comparison
After publishing our look at the new GeForce GTX 460 we had several requests for an article that quickly compared the relevant NVIDIA and AMD options from top to bottom for the enthusiast PC gamer.
More than just a shrink
NVIDIA has been attempt to gain ground back from AMD in the enthusiast PC gaming space since the Radeon 5000-series really put them on their heels. The release of the GTX 480/470/465 cards were one step in the right directions and the release of NVIDIA Surround was another. The new GTX 460 introduces the first new GPU redesign with the GF104 and offers top value for your $199. I think a lot of gamers are going to fall for this card!
Design and Specifications
The ASUS ARES is one of those things of legend; a card that is worth its weight in gold and actually costs just about as much. If you thought the days of the $1000+ graphics card were over, then you were wrong and ASUS would like you see one of the limited edition ARES cards that matches a pair of true HD 5870s with 4GB of memory to create the fastest single graphics card we have ever tested.