Subject: Graphics Cards | January 4, 2013 - 09:10 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gk106, gtx 660 se
Are you ready for another entry to the confusing graphics market? NVIDIA has you covered with the upcoming GeForce GTX 660 SE that will target the $180-200 market and hit the AMD Radeon HD 7870 1GB square in the jaw. With the current lineup of GeForce cards that is the one area where NVIDIA is at an obvious disadvantage with the gap between the GTX 650 Ti and the GTX 660.
As is usually the case, when a new graphics card is ready to hit the market, leaks occur in all directions. Already we are seeing screenshots of specifications and benchmarks from PCEVA. If the rumors are right you'll see the GTX 660 SE released in Q1 of 2013 with 768 CUDA cores, 24 ROPs and a 192-bit memory bus. Interestingly, the GTX 660 SE will be based on GK106 and has the same core count as the GTX 650 Ti...the performance differences will be seen going from the 128-bit memory bus to 192-bit.
Current GPU-Z screenshots are showing a clock speed of 928 MHz with a Boost clock of 1006 MHz, running just about the same clock rates as the GTX 650 Ti (though the 650 series does not have GPU Boost technology enabled). It also looks like the GTX 660 SE will use GDDR5 memory running 5.6 GHz and a 2GB capacity.
With CES just around the corner (we are leaving in the morning!) we will ask around and see if anyone has more information about a solid price point and time frame for release!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | January 3, 2013 - 07:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ces 2013, CES, DisplayPort, amd
It has been several months since we first heard about AMD’s multi-stream transport hub -- its friends call it MST hub -- announced with the FirePro W600 last June. Since then news has been pretty quiet about the 1-to-4 DisplayPort device.
It turns out that AMD wants to roll the dice in Vegas along with several other demonstrations.
Image from Rage3D Forums
The cute feature for the MST is its ability to split a 4K image into four 2K monitors. The reason why this is cute is because the hub enables the user to plug four-times as many monitors as they have DisplayPort 1.2 sockets on their GPU. The W600, for instance, contains 6 DisplayPort 1.2 plugs which enable it to drive 24 separate monitors from a single-slot card.
Image from Rage3D Forums
Unfortunately, another feature of DisplayPort 1.2 is the ability to route sound uniquely to each display. The hub, as announced in June, is incapable of providing audio from its one input to its four displays.
A last goodie is the capacity to mix landscape and portrait monitors together in an Eyefinity setup. Stay tuned for our impending CES 2013 coverage for more details on these demos.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
A change is coming in 2013
If the new year will bring us anything, it looks like it might be the end of using "FPS" as the primary measuring tool for graphics performance on PCs. A long, long time ago we started with simple "time demos" that recorded rendered frames in a game like Quake and then played them back as quickly as possible on a test system. The lone result was given as time, in seconds, and was then converted to an average frame rate having known the total number of frames recorded to start with.
More recently we saw a transition to frame rates over time and the advent frame time graphs like the ones we have been using in our graphics reviews on PC Perspective. This expanded the amount of data required to get an accurate picture of graphics and gaming performance but it was indeed more accurate, giving us a more clear image of how GPUs (and CPUs and systems for that matter) performed in games.
And even though the idea of frame times have been around just a long, not many people were interested in getting into that detail level until this past year. A frame time is the amount of time each frame takes to render, usually listed in milliseconds, and could range from 5ms to 50ms depending on performance. For a reference, 120 FPS equates to an average of 8.3ms, 60 FPS is 16.6ms and 30 FPS is 33.3ms. But rather than average those out by each second of time, what if you looked at each frame individually?
Scott over at Tech Report started doing that this past year and found some interesting results. I encourage all of our readers to follow up on what he has been doing as I think you'll find it incredibly educational and interesting.
Through emails and tweets many PC Perspective readers have been asking for our take on it, why we weren't testing graphics cards in the same fashion yet, etc. I've stayed quiet about it simply because we were working on quite a few different angles on our side and I wasn't ready to share results. I am still not ready to share the glut of our information yet but I am ready to start the discussion and I hope our community find its compelling and offers some feedback.
At the heart of our unique GPU testing method is this card, a high-end dual-link DVI capture card capable of handling 2560x1600 resolutions at 60 Hz. Essentially this card will act as a monitor to our GPU test bed and allow us to capture the actual display output that reaches the gamer's eyes. This method is the best possible way to measure frame rates, frame times, stutter, runts, smoothness, and any other graphics-related metrics.
Using that recorded footage, sometimes reaching 400 MB/s of consistent writes at high resolutions, we can then analyze the frames one by one, though with the help of some additional software. There are a lot of details that I am glossing over including the need for perfectly synced frame rates, having absolutely zero dropped frames in the recording, analyzing, etc, but trust me when I say we have been spending a lot of time on this.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 2, 2013 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: powercolor, 7870 LE, MYST edition, tahiti LE, amd
The 7870 Limited Edition is a bit of an odd duck when you compare it to a stock 7870GHz Edition; it has 1536 stream processors as opposed to 1280 on the stock card, the base clock of 925MHz (975MHz Boost Clock) is slower than the 1GHz but the RAM is clocked even higher than a 7950 at 6GHz. [H]ard|OCP wanted to see just how these tweaks effected the performance of the card, both at stock speeds and at their highest stable overclock of 1.2GHz GPU and 6.2GHz VRAM. Check out the performance results to see if this card can approach the HD7950's power.
"PowerColor has released a new graphics card based on the new AMD "Tahiti" 7870 LE core. We will investigate whether it is a worthy Limited Edition or simply a Lame Edition by comparing it to a Radeon HD 7870 GHz edition and a GTX 660 Ti with comparisons also to an HD 7950. Will this card be a deal, or a dud? You may be surprised."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon HD 8790M Video Card Preview @ Legit Reviews
- PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 7870 (Tahiti LE) 2GB Myst @ Tweaktown
- HIS Radeon HD 7850 IceQ Turbo 2GB Review @ Custom PC Review
- HIS Radeon HD 7950 3GB IceQ X2 Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- VTX3D HD7990 @ Kitguru
- ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II Review @ OCC
- HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB IceQ Turbo Video Cards in CrossFire @ Tweaktown
- Graphics cards in Windows 8 and DirectX 11.1: more efficient with better performance @ Hardware.info
- Arctic Cooling Accelero Hybrid VGA Cooler Review: Not For the Faint of Heart @ AnandTech
- Water and Air for a Graphics Card: ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid Cooling System @ X-bit Labs
- Nouveau NVIDIA Driver Can Be Faster With Linux 3.8 @ Phoronix
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 28, 2012 - 02:43 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: opencl, nvidia, amd
The GPU is slowly becoming the parallel processing complement to your branching logic-adept CPU. Developers have been slow to adopt this new technology but that does not hinder the hardware manufacturers from putting on a kettle of tea for when guests arrive.
While the transition to GPGPU is slower than I am sure many would like, developers are rarely quick on the uptake of new technologies. The Xbox 360 was one of the first platforms where unified shaders became mandatory and early developers avoided them by offloading vertex code to the CPU. On that note: how much software still gets released without multicore support?
Phoronix, practically the arbiter of all Linux news, decided to put several GPU drivers and their manufacturers to the test. AMD was up first and their results showed a pretty sizeable jump in performance at around October of this year through most of their tests. The article on NVIDIA arrived two days later and saw performance trended basically nowhere since February with the 295.20 release.
A key piece of information is that both benchmarks were performed with last generation GPUs: the GTX 460 on the NVIDIA side, with the 6950 holding AMD’s flag. You might note that 295.20 was the last tested driver to be released prior to the launch of Kepler.
These results seem to suggest that upon the launch of Kepler, NVIDIA did practically zero optimizations to their older "Fermi" architecture at least as far as these Linux OpenCL benchmarks are concerned. On the AMD side, it seems as though they are more willing to go back and advance the performance of their prior generation as they release new driver versions.
There are very few instances where AMD beats out NVIDIA in terms of driver support -- it is often a selling point for the jolly green giant -- but this appears to be a definite win for AMD.
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | December 19, 2012 - 06:56 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, sweepstakes, sapphire, never settle, giveaway, contest, amd
Remember those really cool game streams we hosted with AMD on Medal of Honor Warfighter, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3? Well can you believe that one of the winners from our Far Cry 3 event hasn't replied to our request for a shipping address which means only one thing:
We have an extra Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX graphics card to hand out!
Lucky you! Since it is the holiday season, we wanted to make this EASY for you. Here is how you enter:
- First entry: Leave a comment in this very news post!
- Second entry: Subscribe to our YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/pcper) and leave a comment on this video on YouTube!
- Wait patiently.
We'll randomly pick a winner from anywhere in the world to get this kick ass prize on December 26th, so you'll have something to look forward to on the day after Christmas.
Good luck to all of you and our most heartfelt thanks to AMD, Sapphire and of course the fans of PC Perspective for a great 2012!!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 17, 2012 - 03:08 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, mobility, amd, 8800m, 8700m, 8600m, 8500m, 8000m
AMD appears to be jumping the gun a bit here but has decided to announce the Radeon 8000M-series of mobile GPUs prior to CES. Before you get all riled up about the next generation of graphics technology, you should know that the new parts we are showing here are still built on the same 28nm Graphics Core Now (GCN) architecture that you'll find in the Radeon HD 7000 series of desktop graphics cards and even some already-existing Radeon mobility parts like the HD 7970M. We were told there are "some changes" but details were minimal.
Radeon HD 8500M and 8600M GPUs will both feature 384 stream processors with the variance related to the maximum clock speed. The 8600M will hit 775 MHz core clock while the 8500M will cap out at 650 MHz. Memory speeds are identical. Keep in mind that the desktop Radeon HD 7750 card has 512 stream processors and it runs at up to 900 MHz so you that can put the performance of these mainstream GPUs in perspective.
The 8700M uses the same 384 stream processor GPU though it gets a bit higher clock speed at 850 MHz. The 8800M is the only GPU announced today to increase the core count to 640 stream processors and a clock speed of 700 MHz for a total compute capability of 992 GFLOPs. Though the specifications are nearly equivalent to the build of the desktop Radeon HD 7770 part it is worth mentioning that the theoretical peak performance of that GPU is 1.28 TFLOPs; nearly 30% higher than the 8800M.
AMD was coy but hinted that this mainstream product announcement will be added to later in Q1 with higher end enthusiast-level SKUs. No 8900s yet guys, check back later.
When asked about the changes in this mobility GPU release compared to the 7000M series already available today, we only know that this is built on the same 28nm process but that the "architecture is slightly different and more efficient" than the 7000 chips. These are NEW chips and are NOT rebrands of currently available products. We don't have die sizes, transistor counts or TDPs until further notice.
AMD did provide a couple of quick graphs comparing the performance of the Radeon HD 8870M against the GeForce 650M G5 and The 8770M against its own previously releaesd 7670M part. Take all of this with a grain of salt until we can do our own testing, as per usual.
For now, I would say our readers should be very timid about the idea of a new series of GPUs from AMD without more information on the actual changes in performance will be compared to Souther Islands. Based on what we are hearing the changes are very minor.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 14, 2012 - 05:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: virtu MVP, virtu, lucid, ces 2013, CES
In preparation for the upcoming CES 2013 show in January we have started having some pre-meeting discussions with various companies, one of which was Lucid. While speaking with them we learned some interesting news about the upcoming v2.0 release of their Virtu MVP software including new features and a new availability option.
Lucid's Virtu MVP software is the technology that allows DIY PC builders and notebook vendors to easily accommodate utilization of both integrated and discrete graphics in a single system without the need to adjust settings or to move monitor cables around. With Virtu MVP you can take advantage of the QuickSync technology of your Ivy Bridge processor but still utilize the performance of a discrete graphics card for gaming. This can all be managed and handled on a single display with a single cable.
Other additions like Virtual Vsync and HyperFormance were added in MVP and aim to improve the gaming experience in the same way that Virtu enhances the overall user experience. And while Matt Smith liked the results from the software in his recent testing with an Origin laptop, there were a couple things that bugged us: the interface and the inability to get the software on your own.
Next month Lucid will be launching the new version 2.0 of its software that should increase the responsiveness of the interface while also drastically improving the visuals and style. Also included will be native Windows 8 support.
Perhaps the most interesting news is that Lucid will soon start offering the software directly to consumers as a download instead of requiring that you get it from your motherboard or system vendor. This is great news for users that have purchased motherboards without Virtu software and those of you that might want to buy a really low cost board that would lack those features as well. You will apparently be able to buy it in Q1 from www.lucidlogix.com and the price should be "under $30" which likely indicates a $29.99 starting offer.
What we don't know is how this will affect Lucid's motherboard partners - will they stop carrying the software as a bundle going forward or will they still offer it on select SKUs? Lucid wouldn't divulge any of that yet but I assume we'll find out more at CES next month.
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 04:47 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, far cry 3, amd
UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can watch the replay embedded right here! Tune in to see some Far Cry 3 action as well learn about some of the technology that Ubisoft has included in the title!
On December 4th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Far Cry 3. Far Cry has long been a franchise that includes great gameplay and never before seen graphics technology and the third installment looks to follow that trend! Early previews of the game have been very exciting!
Far Cry 3 Game Stream
5pm PT / 8pm ET - December 4th
Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!
The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about. Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:
- FREE Sleeping Dogs
- FREE Hitman: Absolution
- FREE Far Cry 3
- 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter
AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!
Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Far Cry 3 Game Stream:
- 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
- 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
- 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
- 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
- 5 x Far Cry 3 keys
Pretty nice, huh? That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!
Stop in on December 4th for some PC gaming fun!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 01:53 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: never settle, HD 7970, asus, amd
UPDATE: We have selected a winner for this contest! If you didn't get an email from me on it, then better luck next time. We'll have more contests coming up very soon at PC Perspective!!
AMD is really excited about its Never Settle campaign and the bundle packages it has built for the holiday season. PC gamers looking for an uprade will defintely want to read up on the special promotion but we have another surprise for you as well - A FREE GRAPHICS CARD!
AMD and ASUS are partnering up with PC Perspective to hand out an ASUS HD 7970 DirectCT II graphics card, perfect for gaming on your PC!
Not only do you get the card in this sweet contest but you'll get the same software bundle as if you had purchased them at retail.
That means a 20% off coupon for Medal of Honor Warfighter, a FREE copy of Far Cry 3, a FREE copy of Hitman: Absolution and a FREE copy of Sleeping Dogs!
What do you have to do to enter to win this hardware? It couldn't be easier:
- Visit your favorite PC Perspective pages like our YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account. You should subscribe, like and follow us, you know...if you want to. We'd appreciate it!
- Check out the AMD Never Settle page to read up on the bundle and special offers they are running right now!
- Leave a comment here on this post!
That's it - we love our fans so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to win some free stuff! Sorry though, North American readers only on this one!
We will close the contest on Wednesday December 12rd at 1pm EST or so - so get your entries in! Thanks again for being a fan of PC Perspective, thanks to AMD for the great prizes and stay tuned for MORE contests and giveaways in the coming days!