Revisting the GTX 980 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 17, 2015 - 06:24 PM |
Tagged: NVIDA, maxwell, GTX 980 Ti

Now that they have had time with the new NVIDIA card to test on games both familiar and new, [H]ard|OCP have put together a longer review of the GTX 980 Ti.  The Witcher 3 shows that for 4K gamers, the extra power of the TITAN does marginally beat out the newcomer.  Indeed that tended to hold true in many games, Dying Light and Far Cry 4 all saw the 980 Ti needing to lower graphical settings to remain at a decent frame rate but still remained a far better value for those gaming at 1440p.  They compare VRAM usage at 1440p versus 4K resolutions and it is obvious how much more memory is consumed as resolution increases.  Considering how none of the games tested used even half of the 12GB of VRAM on the TITAN it will be very interesting to see how AMD's new smaller sized but higher bandwidth HBM-based card will perform.

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"Now that we have had some solid gaming time with the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, we will be putting it up against the GTX 980 and TITAN X video cards, in the full HardOCP GPU review format. We are including new games, The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. We also look at VRAM utilization and power and temperature levels."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Fury X2 Dual Fiji GPU Card Shown at PC Gaming Show

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 10:36 PM |
Tagged: hbm, fury x2, fury x, Fury, Fiji, dual gpu, amd

During the PC Gamer PC Gaming Show, much of the industry was on hand to talk about its take on the state of PC gaming. While there, AMD took the opportunity to show off the dual-GPU Fiji-based AMD Radeon R9 Fury X2 card. (Editor's note: we don't have official confirmation on that name for the card, but it would make sense, right? We'll go with that for the time being.) We don't know much about the specifics on clocks, shader counts or performance, but we do know that AMD is able to cram a HUGE amount of GPU compute capability into an incredibly small space thanks to the high bandwidth memory innovation.

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Shown at the PC Gaming Show tonight...

Interesting, just a couple of days ago we were sent this image anonymously:

dualfuryleak.jpg

What's interesting here is that I was told "this is how they test" the GPUs before installing the water block on it. Those are high-end CPU coolers that have been modified slightly to be installed on the lay-flat Fury X2 PCB. This gives you an idea of the development process of building a graphics card like this...

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A little blurry, but still informative.

This image, posted by Anshel Sag, Staff Technologist and Technical Writer at Moor Insights & Strategy, shows the bare PCB with the two Fiji GPUs and their HBM memory stacks. (Also, note those "Moor" logos are not really printed on the GPU dies...) There are two 8-pin power connectors on the PCB as well, odd considering that the single GPU Fury X uses the same configuration.

dualfury2.jpg

This card has been promised to us in the fall, though pricing and power and performance are to be discussed later. 2015 just keeps getting better for PC gamers!!

AMD's Small Form Factor Project Quantum PC Is a Dual Fiji Powerhouse [Updated]

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, SFF, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, dual fiji, amd

AMD revealed a new liquid cooled small form factor PC called Project Quantum during an E3 livestream today.

AMD Project Quantum with Dual Fiji.JPG

On the outside, an angled dual compartment aluminum case with rounded edges houses the processing hardware in the bottom and all the cooling components in the top part. AMD is using liquid cooling for the processor and graphics with the tubing running up the center column joining the two pieces together to a radiator or radiators. Red LEDs light up the center column while Radeon R9 branding sits in the bottom left corner. 

AMD Project Quantum.JPG

While at first glance that Radeon R9 branding might be unassuming, it is actually referring to AMD's latest Fiji architecture. That's correct, Project Quantum is part of the Fiji product family and is, in fact, powered by two AMD Fiji-based graphics procesors!

Update: AMD has posted a behind-the-scenes video on the development of Project Quantum which you can watch below.

In the video, AMD reveals that they are using a modified ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard (thanks to djotter in the comments for pointing that out) which means that Project Quantum is using an Intel Haswell processor in addition to the two Fiji-based GPUs. AMD has removed all of the rear IO connectors save two USB 3.0 ports and an Ethernet jack. They have also moved the 8-pin CPU power connector to the back panel of the board next to the USB ports. My guess is that they did this for cable management and height restriction reasons within the bottom compartment. Specifically, from the CAD render shown in the video, it appears that the AMD graphics card sits horizontally on top of the motherboard which meant that at least some of the rear IO ports had to be removed or relocated.

AMD Project Quantum PSU.jpg

Another bit of information from that AMD video is that Project Quantum is using what looks like an external power supply. The power brick connects to the system over a single cable to an internal board. This board provides power to a Pico PSU that is plugged into the ATX 24-pin connector on the motherboard and provides power to the AMD branded Solid State Drive (SSD) as well as the motherboard and CPU 8-pin connectors (which have both been modified to right angles for height and cable management reasons). The internal power board that connects to the socket at the back likely also powers the Radeon graphics card via PCI-E connectors, but it is difficult to tell from the photo (it is that red PCB towards the top of the photo).

AMD Radeon R9 Quantum Dual Fiji SFF Prototype.jpg

Interestingly AMD has switched out the power and USB 3.0 headers with right angle models and removed the blue ASRock heatsinks covering the VRMs and PCH. AMD is instead using two large waterblocks to cool the components on the motherboard and graphics card. A large radiator and pump sit in the top compartment cooled by an 180mm Enermax Apollish fan. The 180mm radiator should result in quieter, or at least less annoying, fan noise since the large fan can spin slower while moving similar amounts of air as smaller fans paired with 120 or 140mm radiators. Using a single large radiator for both the CPU and GPU is an interesting choice here, and I think a correct one.

AMD Project Quantum Waterblocks.jpg

A rendering of the water loop layout on Project Quantum. Image from AMD with annotations by Aibohphobia.

It was actually djotter and Aibohphobia in the comments who spotted the Pico PSU and provided an example. (I did not notice that in the video initially, so thanks for pointing that out!)  This power brick and tiny Pico PSU setup would certainly help to explain how AMD was able to make Project Quantum so thin (though an external PSU isn't necessarily a bad thing). The Pico PSU does suggest that the dual Fiji GPUs may be closer to lower end R9 Nanos than two high end Fury Xs (heh) or maybe some other yet unannounced cut-down Fiji chip entirely.

(End of update)

Update 9:30PM:

During the PC Gamer E3 Twitch stream, AMD CEO Lisa Su showed off Project Quantum, and Ken was able to snap a photo of the back panel.

AMD Project Quantum Rear IO.JPG

Project Quantum has, from left to right, a single power input (see above), two analog audio jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, an Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet jack, four USB 2.0 ports, and a single horizontal PCI slot. A Radeon R9 graphics card is installed in this slot and features three DisplayPort and one HDMI 1.4 video outputs. We still do not know all the specs of this card, but is is Fiji-based and supports LiquidVR along with AMD's other features including FreeSync and Frame Rate Target Control.

(End Update 9:30PM)

Beyond that, we do not know many details on Project Quantum. From the other announcements around Fiji today, particularly the R9 Nano and R9 Fury X, this little machine is going to be a powerhouse with impressive power efficiency and performance per watt – especially for its size!

Of course, pricing and availability were not discussed at the event. Stay tuned to PC Perspective as we get more details closer to its official release!

Source: AMD

AMD Officially Announces Radeon R9 Fury X and Fury Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: radeon, hbm, fury x, Fury, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, amd

It's finally official: AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and Fury graphics cards are coming soon. Here's the details you need to know:

  AMD Fury X AMD Fury AMD R9 290X
Stream Processors 4096 ?? 2816
Compute Capability 8.6 TFLOPS ?? 5.6 TFLOPS
Transistor Count 8.9 billion ?? 6.3 billion
Price $649 $549 $329
Availability June 24th July 14th Now

There is still a lot of information that AMD is saving for the official release, but those look to be some impressive graphics cards at first glance! The AMD Fury X is the small form factor water cooled version that we saw leaked this weekend while the AMD Fury (non-X) will be air cooled. It wasn't shown on stage though, so we can only guess what it will look like.

AMD Fury X AMD Livestream.jpg

AMD's Joe Macri said on stage that the cooler they designed is built for up to 500 watts but that the board was only going to draw 275 watts, while keeping the board temperature down to 50C!

specs.jpg

Other tidbits include 6-phase power with 400A (!!) power delivery for overclocking, an 8-LED user addressable array for performance load monitoring and 1.5x performance per watt improvement when compared to the R9 290X. That can help us estimate card performance but we'll dive more into that later.

Finally, though only a tease, AMD did say they were planning a dual-GPU variant of Fiji coming "in the fall."

AMD Announces Radeon R9 Nano 6-in Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 nano, R9, amd

On stage at the AMD E3 2015 press conference, AMD's CEO Lisa Su announced the Radeon R9 Nano, a 6-in PCB small form factor graphics card that will feature "2x the performance per watt of the R9 290X" as well as "significantly" more performance than the R9 290X.

r9-nano.jpg

We are looking for more information but because its branded R9 I don't know for sure if it's Fiji or Hawaii. I would assume that the advantages of HBM for form factor and power efficiency would tell us it uses AMD latest GPU in some cut down variation.

Availability later this summer.

UPDATE:  Sources on the scene confirm it is Fiji powered!

NVIDIA GameWorks Enhancements Coming in Upcoming Metal Gear Solid Game

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 12:53 AM |
Tagged: the phantom pain, nvidia, metal gear solid, graphics, gpus, geforce, gameworks

A blog post on NVIDIA's site indicates that Konami's upcoming game Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will make use of NVIDIA technologies, a move that will undoubtedly rankle AMD graphics users who can't always see the full benefit of GameWorks enhancements.

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"The world of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is going to be 200 times larger than the one explored in Ground Zeroes. Because so much of this game’s action depends on stealth, graphics are a key part of the gameplay. Shadows, light, and terrain have to be rendered perfectly. That’s a huge challenge in a game where the hero is free to find his own way from one point to another.  Our engineers are signed up to work closely with Konami to get the graphics just right and to add special effects."

Now technically this quote doesn't confirm the use of any proprietary NVIDIA technology, though it sounds like that's exactly what will be taking place. In the wake of the Witcher 3 HairWorks controversy any such enhancements will certainly be looked upon with interest (especially as the next piece of big industry news will undoubtedly be coming with AMD's announcement later today at E3).

It's hard to argue with better graphical quality in high profile games such as the latest Metal Gear Solid installment, but there is certainly something to be said for adherence to open standards to ensure a more unified experience across GPUs. The dialog about inclusion though adherence to standards vs. proprietary solutions has been very heated with the FreeSync/G-Sync monitor refresh debate, and GameWorks is a series of tools that serves to further divide gamers, even as it provides an enhanced experience with GeForce GPUs.

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Such advantages will likely matter less with DirectX 12 mitigating some differences with more efficiency in the vein of AMD's Mantle API, and if the rumored Fiji cards from AMD offer superior performance and arrive priced competitively this will matter even less. For now even though details are nonexistent expect an NVIDIA GeForce GPU to have the advantage in at least some graphical aspects of the latest Metal Gear title when it arrives on PC.

Source: NVIDIA

Live Blog: AMD E3 2015 Press Conference June 16th, 9am PT / 12pm ET

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 15, 2015 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: r9 300, hbm, hawaii, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, amd

Join us tomorrow to learn all about AMD's plans for the next generation of GPUs! AMD is hosting a live stream of the event at 9am PT / 12pm ET and the PC Perspective team will be live blogging as well.

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AMD E3 2015 Press Conference and Live Blog

9am PT / 12pm ET - June 16th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!

We expect to see official details of the R9 300-series of products of which there have been many leaks as well as the final details of the AMD Fury and Fury X products based on the new Fiji GPU. Join the team as we live blog the event and learn along with you!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

The measure of a true modder is not in how powerful he can make his system by throwing money at it, but in how well he can innovate to make his components run better with what he or she has on hand. Some make artistic statements with their truly awe-inspiring cases, while others take the dremel and clamps to their beloved video cards in an attempt to eek out that last bit of performance. This article serves the later of the two. Don't get me wrong, the card will look nice once we're done with it, but the point here is to re-use components on hand where possible to minimize the cost while maximizing the performance (and sound) benefits.

EVGA GTX 970 SC Graphics Card

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Courtesy of EVGA

We started with an EVGA GTX 970 SC card with 4GB ram and bundled with the new revision of EVGA's ACX cooler, ACX 2.0. This card is well built with a slight factory overclock out of the box. The ACX 2.0 cooler is a redesigned version of the initial version of the cooler included with the card, offering better cooling potential with fan's not activated for active cooling until the GPU block temperature breeches 60C.

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Courtesy of EVGA

WATERCOOL HeatKiller GPU-X3 Core GPU Waterblock

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Courtesy of WATERCOOL

For water cooling the EVGA GTX 970 SC GPU, we decided to use the WATERCOOL HeatKiller GPU-X3 Core water block. This block features a POM-based body with a copper core for superior heat transfer from the GPU to the liquid medium. The HeatKiller GPU-X3 Core block is a GPU-only cooler, meaning that the memory and integrated VRM circuitry will not be actively cooled by the block. The decision to use a GPU only block rather than a full cover block was two fold - availability and cost. I had a few of these on hand, making of an easy decision cost-wise.

Continue reading our article on Modding the EVGA GTX 970 SC Graphics Card!

AMD Radeon Fury X Graphics Card Pictured, Uses 2 x 8-pin Power

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 12, 2015 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, leak, hbm, fury x, Fury, Fiji, amd

You just never know what's going to come your way on Facebook on a Friday night. Take this evening for me: there I was sitting on the laptop minding my own business when up pops a notification about new messages to the PC Perspective page of FB. Anonymous user asks very simply "do you want pictures of skylake and r9 fury x".

With a smirk, knowing that I am going to be Rick-rolled in some capacity, I reply, "sure".

fury05.jpg

Well, that's a lot more than I was expecting! For the first time that I can see we are getting the entire view of the upcoming AMD Fury X graphics card, with the water cooler installed. The self-contained water cooler that will keep the Fiji GPU and its HBM memory at reliable temperatures looks to be quite robust. Morry, one of our experts in the water cooling fields, is guessing the radiator thickness to be around 45mm, but that's just a guess based on the images we have here. I like how the fan is in-set into the cooler design so that the total package looks more svelte than it might actually be.

fury00.jpg

The tubing for the liquid transfer between the GPU block and the rad is braided pretty heavily which should protect it from cuts and wear as well as help reduce evaporation. The card is definitely shorter compared to other flagship graphics cards and that allows AMD to output the tubing through the back of the card rather than out the top. This should help in smaller cases where users want to integrate multi-GPU configurations.

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This shot shows the front of the card and details the display outputs: 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI.

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Finally, and maybe most importantly, we can see that Fiji / Fury X will indeed require a pair of 8-pin power connections. That allows the card to draw as much as 375 total watts but that doesn't mean that will be the TDP of the card when it ships.

Also, for what it's worth, this source did identify himself to me and I have no reason to believe these are bogus. And the name is confirmed: AMD Radeon Fury X.

Overall, I like the design that AMD has gone with for this new flagship offering. It's unique, will stand out from the normal cards on the market and that alone will help get users attention, which is what AMD needs to make a splash with Fiji. I know that many people will lament the fact that Fury X requires a water cooler to stay competitive, and that it might restrict installation in some chassis (if you already have a CPU water cooler, for example), but I think ultra-high-end enthusiasts looking at $600+ GPUs will be just fine with the configuration.

There you have it - AMD's Fury X graphics card is nearly here!

Report: AMD Radeon 300-Series Pricing and GPU Details Leak

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 10, 2015 - 02:34 AM |
Tagged: rumor, Radeon 390X, radeon 390, radeon, leak, Hawaii XT, hawaii, amd

Here we go again...

radeon_rumor.jpg

Image credit: WCCFtech

Even more information has allegedly leaked out ahead of AMD’s official announcement of new 300-series Radeon GPUs, this time from rumor site WCCFtech. This information is totally unverified at least from any public source, but it is very specific regarding both price and GPU.

Here is the list published by WCCFtech in their report:

Graphics Card GPU Price
R9 390X 8GB Enhanced Hawaii XT $389
R9 390 8GB   Enhanced Hawaii Pro  $329
R9 380X 3GB/6GB    Tonga XT (NOT CONFIRMED)  
R9 380 4GB   Tonga Pro  $235
R9 380 2GB Tonga Pro   $195
R7 370 4GB Pitcairn $175
R7 370 2GB Pitcairn $135
R7 360 2GB Bonaire $107

Credit: WCCFtech

As to whether this comes via leaked slides or is complete guesswork, we’ll likely have no answer until the official unveiling. Such an announcement is likely the purpose of the AMD gaming event at E3 which is now just days away. We can only hope that Fiji will in fact be making an appearance at the show as it does not appear on this list (again, if accurate).

Source: WCCFtech