Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | May 18, 2016 - 01:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rumor, Polaris, opinion, HDMI 2.0, gpu, gddr5x, GDDR5, GCN, amd, 4k
While Nvidia's Pascal has held the spotlight in the news recently, it is not the only new GPU architecture debuting this year. AMD will soon be bringing its Polaris-based graphics cards to market for notebooks and mainstream desktop users. While several different code names have been thrown around for these new chips, they are consistently in general terms referred to as Polaris 10 and Polaris 11. AMD's Raja Kudori stated in an interview with PC Perspective that the numbers used in the naming scheme hold no special significance, but eventually Polaris will be used across the entire performance lineup (low end to high end graphics).
Naturally, there are going to be many rumors and leaks as the launch gets closer. In fact, Tech Power Up recently came into a number of interesting details about AMD's plans for Polaris-based graphics in 2016 including specifications and which areas of the market each chip is going to be aimed at.
Citing the usual "industry sources" familiar with the matter (take that for what it's worth, but the specifications do not seem out of the realm of possibility), Tech Power Up revealed that there are two lines of Polaris-based GPUs that will be made available this year. Polaris 10 will allegedly occupy the mid-range (mainstream) graphics option in desktops as well as being the basis for high end gaming notebook graphics chips. On the other hand, Polaris 11 will reportedly be a smaller chip aimed at thin-and-light notebooks and mainstream laptops.
Now, for the juicy bits of the leak: the rumored specifications!
AMD's "Polaris 10" GPU will feature 32 compute units (CUs) which TPU estimates – based on the assumption that each CU still contains 64 shaders on Polaris – works out to 2,048 shaders. The GPU further features a 256-bit memory interface along with a memory controller supporting GDDR5 and GDDR5X (though not at the same time heh). This would leave room for cheaper Polaris 10 derived products with less than 32 CUs and/or cheaper GDDR5 memory. Graphics cards would have as much as 8GB of memory initially clocked at 7 Gbps. Reportedly, the full 32 CU GPU is rated at 5.5 TFLOPS of single precision compute power and runs at a TDP of no more than 150 watts.
Compared to the existing Hawaii-based R9 390X, the upcoming R9 400 Polaris 10 series GPU has fewer shaders and less memory bandwidth. The memory is clocked 1 GHz higher, but the GDDR5X memory bus is half that of the 390X's 512-bit GDDR5 bus which results in 224 GB/s memory bandwidth for Polaris 10 versus 384 GB/s on Hawaii. The R9 390X has a slight edge in compute performance at 5.9 TFLOPS versus Polaris 10's 5.5 TFLOPS however the Polaris 10 GPU is using much less power and easily wins at performance per watt! It almost reaches the same level of single precision compute performance at nearly half the power which is impressive if it holds true!
|R9 390X||R9 390||R9 380||R9 400-Series "Polaris 10"|
|GPU Code name||Grenada (Hawaii)||Grenada (Hawaii)||Antigua (Tonga)||Polaris 10|
|Rated Clock||1050 MHz||1000 MHz||970 MHz||~1343 MHz|
|Memory Clock||6000 MHz||6000 MHz||5700 MHz||7000 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||384 GB/s||384 GB/s||182.4 GB/s||224 GB/s|
|TDP||275 watts||275 watts||190 watts||150 watts (or less)|
|Peak Compute||5.9 TFLOPS||5.1 TFLOPS||3.48 TFLOPS||5.5 TFLOPS|
|MSRP (current)||~$400||~$310||~$199||$ unknown|
Note: Polaris GPU clocks esitmated using assumption of 5.5 TFLOPS being peak compute and accurate number of shaders. (Thanks Scott.)
Another comparison that can be made is to the Radeon R9 380 which is a Tonga-based GPU with similar TDP. In this matchup, the Polaris 10 based chip will – at a slightly lower TDP – pack in more shaders, twice the amount of faster clocked memory with 23% more bandwidth, and provide a 58% increase in single precision compute horsepower. Not too shabby!
Likely, a good portion of these increases are made possible by the move to a smaller process node and utilizing FinFET "tri-gate" like transistors on the Samsung/Globalfoundries 14LPP FinFET manufacturing process, though AMD has also made some architecture tweaks and hardware additions to the GCN 4.0 based processors. A brief high level introduction is said to be made today in a webinar for their partners (though AMD has come out and said preemptively that no technical nitty-gritty details will be divulged yet). (Update: Tech Altar summarized the partner webinar. Unfortunately there was no major reveals other than that AMD will not be limiting AIB partners from pushing for the highest factory overclocks they can get).
Moving on from Polaris 10 for a bit, Polaris 11 is rumored to be a smaller GCN 4.0 chip that will top out at 14 CUs (estimated 896 shaders/stream processors) and 2.5 TFLOPS of single precision compute power. These chips aimed at mainstream and thin-and-light laptops will have 50W TDPs and will be paired with up to 4GB of GDDR5 memory. There is apparently no GDDR5X option for these, which makes sense at this price point and performance level. The 128-bit bus is a bit limiting, but this is a low end mobile chip we are talking about here...
|R7 370||R7 400 Series "Polaris 11"|
|GPU Code name||Trinidad (Pitcairn)||Polaris 11|
925 MHz base (975 MHz boost)
|Memory||2 or 4GB||4GB|
|Memory Clock||5600 MHz||? MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||179.2 GB/s||? GB/s|
|TDP||110 watts||50 watts|
|Peak Compute||1.89 TFLOPS||2.5 TFLOPS|
|MSRP (current)||~$140 (less after rebates and sales)||$?|
Note: Polaris GPU clocks esitmated using assumption of 2.5 TFLOPS being peak compute and accurate number of shaders. (Thanks Scott.)
Fewer details were unveiled concerning Polaris 11, as you can see from the chart above. From what we know so far, it should be a promising successor to the R7 370 series even with the memory bus limitation and lower shader count as the GPU should be clocked higher, (it also might have more shaders in M series mobile variants versus of the 370 and lower mobile series) and a much lower TDP for at least equivalent if not a decent increase in performance. The lower power usage in particular will be hugely welcomed in mobile devices as it will result in longer battery life under the same workloads, ideally. I picked the R7 370 as the comparison as it has 4 gigabytes of memory and not that many more shaders and being a desktop chip readers may be more widely familiar with it. It also appears to sit between the R7 360 and R7 370 in terms of shader count and other features but is allegedly going to be faster than both of them while using at least (on paper) less than half the power.
Of course these are still rumors until AMD makes Polaris officially, well, official with a product launch. The claimed specifications appear reasonable though, and based on that there are a few important takeaways and thoughts I have.
The first thing on my mind is that AMD is taking an interesting direction here. While NVIDIA has chosen to start out its new generation at the top by announcing "big Pascal" GP100 and actually launching the GP104 GTX 1080 (one of its highest end consumer chips/cards) yesterday and then over the course of the year introducing lower end products AMD has opted for the opposite approach. AMD will be starting closer to the lower end with a mainstream notebook chip and high end notebook/mainstream desktop GPU (Polaris 11 and 10 respectively) and then over a year fleshing out its product stack (remember Raja Kudori stated Polaris and GCN 4 would be used across the entire product stack) and building up with bigger and higher end GPUs over time finally topping off with its highest end consumer (and professional) GPUs based on "Vega" in 2017.
This means, and I'm not sure if this was planned by either Nvidia or AMD or just how it happened to work out based on them following their own GPU philosophies (but I'm thinking the latter), that for some time after both architectures are launched AMD and NVIDIA's newest architectures and GPUs will not be directly competing with each other. Eventually they should meet in the middle (maybe late this year?) with a mid-range desktop graphics card and it will be interesting to see how they stack up at similar price points and hardware levels. Then, of course once "Vega" based GPUs hit (sadly probably in time for NV's big Pascal to launch heh. I'm not sure if Vega is Fury X replacement only or even beyond that to 1080Ti or even GP100 competitor) we should see GCN 4 on the new smaller process node square up against NVIDIA and it's 16nm Pascal products across the board (entire lineup). Which will have the better performance, which will win out in power usage and performance/watt and performance/$? All questions I wish I knew the answers to, but sadly do not!!
Speaking of price and performance/$... Polaris is actually looking pretty good so far at hitting much lower TDPs and power usage targets while delivering at least similar performance if not a good bit more. Both AMD and NVIDIA appear to be bringing out GPUs better than I expected to see as far as technological improvements in performance and power usage (these die shrinks have really helped even though from here on out that trend isn't really going to continue...). I hope that AMD can at least match NV in these areas at the mid range even if they do not have a high end GPU coming out soon (not until sometime after these cards launch and not really until Vega, the high end GCN GPU successor). At least on paper based on the leaked information the GPUs so far look good. My only worry is going to be pricing which I think is going to make or break these cards. AMD will need to price them competitively and aggressively to ensure their adoption and success.
I hope that doing the rollout this way (starting with lower end chips) helps AMD to iron out the new smaller process node and that they are able to get good yields so that they can be aggressive with pricing here and eventually at the hgh end!
I am looking forward to more information on AMD's Polaris architecture and the graphics cards based on it!
- AMD Capsaicin GDC Live Stream and Live Blog TODAY!!
- AMD GPU Roadmap: Capsaicin Names Upcoming Architectures
- AMD's Raja Koduri talks moving past CrossFire, smaller GPU dies, HBM2 and more.
- AMD High-End Polaris Expected for 2016
- CES 2016: AMD Shows Polaris Architecture and HDMI FreeSync Displays
I will admit that I am not 100% up on all the rumors and I apologize for that. With that said, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on AMD's upcoming GPUs and what you think about these latest rumors!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 18, 2016 - 12:49 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: nvidia, pascal, gtx 1070, 1070, gtx, GTX 1080, 16nm FF+, TSMC, Founder's Edition
Several weeks ago when NVIDIA announced the new GTX 1000 series of products, we were given a quick glimpse of the GTX 1070. This upper-midrange card is to carry a $379 price tag in retail form while the "Founder's Edition" will hit the $449 mark. Today NVIDIA released the full specifications of this card on their website.
The interest of the GTX 1070 is incredibly great because of the potential performance of this card vs. the previous generation. Price is also a big consideration here as it is far easier to raise $370 than it is to make the jump to GTX 1080 and shell out $599 once non-Founder's Edition cards are released. The GTX 1070 has all of the same features as the GTX 1080, but it takes a hit when it comes to clockspeed and shader units.
The GTX 1070 is a Pascal based part that is fabricated on TSMC's 16nm FF+ node. It shares the same overall transistor count of the GTX 1080, but it is partially disabled. The GTX 1070 contains 1920 CUDA cores as compared to the 2560 cores of the 1080. Essentially one full GPC is disabled to reach that number. The clockspeeds take a hit as well compared to the full GTX 1080. The base clock for the 1070 is still an impressive 1506 MHz and boost reaches 1683 MHz. This combination of shader counts and clockspeed makes this probably a little bit faster than the older GTX 980 ti. The rated TDP for the card is 150 watts with a single 8 pin PCI-E power connector. This means that there should be some decent headroom when it comes to overclocking this card. Due to binning and yields, we may not see 2+ GHz overclocks with these cards, especially if NVIDIA cut down the power delivery system as compared to the GTX 1080. Time will tell on that one.
The memory technology that NVIDIA is using for this card is not the cutting edge GDDR5x or HBM, but rather the tried and true GDDR5. 8 GB of this memory sits on a 256 bit bus, but it is running at a very, very fast 8 gbps. This gives overall bandwidth in the 256 GB/sec region. When we combine this figure with the memory compression techniques implemented with the Pascal architecture we can see that the GTX 1070 will not be bandwidth starved. We have no information if this generation of products will mirror what we saw with the previous generation GTX 970 in terms of disabled memory controllers and the 3.5 GB/500 MB memory split due to that unique memory subsystem.
Beyond those things, the GTX 1070 is identical to the GTX 1080 in terms of DirectX features, display specifications, decoding support, double bandwidth SLI, etc. There is an obvious amount of excitement for this card considering its potential performance and price point. These supposedly will be available in the Founder's Edition release on June 10 for the $449 MSRP. I know many people are considering using these cards in SLI to deliver performance for half the price of last year's GTX 980ti. From all indications, these cards will be a signficant upgrade for anyone using GTX 970s in SLI. With the greater access to monitors that hit 4K as well as Surround Gaming, this could be a solid purchase for anyone looking to step up their game in these scenarios.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 17, 2016 - 06:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, pascal, video, GTX 1080, gtx, GP104, geforce, founders edition
Yes that's right, if you felt Ryan and Al somehow missed something in our review of the new GTX 1080 or you felt the obvious pro-Matrox bios was showing here are the other reviews you can pick and choose from. Start off with [H]ard|OCP who also tested Ashes of the Singularity and Doom as well as the old favourite Battlefield 4. Doom really showed itself off as a next generation game, its Nightmare mode scoffing at any GPU with less than 5GB of VRAM available and pushing the single 1080 hard. Read on to see how the competition stacked up ... or wait for the 1440 to come out some time in the future.
"NVIDIA's next generation video card is here, the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition video card based on the new Pascal architecture will be explored. We will compare it against the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X in many games to find out what it is capable of."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- In the lab: Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card @ The Tech Report
- FCAT GeForce GTX 1080 Framepacing @ Guru of 3D
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Review: A Look At 4K & Ultra-wide Gaming @ Techgage
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Review - The Advent of Pascal @HiTech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition Review @ OCC
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition Review @ Neoseeker
- Nvidia GTX 1080 @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Review @ Hardware Canucks
A new architecture with GP104
Table of Contents
- Asynchronous compute discussion
- Is only 2-Way SLI supported?
- Overclocking over 2.0 GHz
- Dissecting the Founders Edition
- Benchmarks begin
- VR Testing
- Impressive power efficiency
- Performance per dollar discussion
- Ansel screenshot tool
The summer of change for GPUs has begun with today’s review of the GeForce GTX 1080. NVIDIA has endured leaks, speculation and criticism for months now, with enthusiasts calling out NVIDIA for not including HBM technology or for not having asynchronous compute capability. Last week NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang went on stage and officially announced the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards with a healthy amount of information about their supposed performance and price points. Issues around cost and what exactly a Founders Edition is aside, the event was well received and clearly showed a performance and efficiency improvement that we were not expecting.
The question is, does the actual product live up to the hype? Can NVIDIA overcome some users’ negative view of the Founders Edition to create a product message that will get the wide range of PC gamers looking for an upgrade path an option they’ll take?
I’ll let you know through the course of this review, but what I can tell you definitively is that the GeForce GTX 1080 clearly sits alone at the top of the GPU world.
NVIDIA's Ansel Technology
“In-game photography” is an interesting concept. Not too long ago, it was difficult to just capture the user's direct experience with a title. Print screen could only hold a single screenshot at a time, which allowed Steam and FRAPS to provide a better user experience. FRAPS also made video more accessible to the end-user, but it output huge files and, while it wasn't too expensive, it needed to be purchased online, which was a big issue ten-or-so years ago.
Seeing that their audience would enjoy video captures, NVIDIA introduced ShadowPlay a couple of years ago. The feature allowed users to, not only record video, but also capture the last few minutes. It did this with hardware acceleration, and it did this for free (for compatible GPUs). While I don't use ShadowPlay, preferring the control of OBS, it's a good example of how NVIDIA wants to support their users. They see these features as a value-add, which draw people to their hardware.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 16, 2016 - 03:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, r9 380x, crossfire
A pair of R9 380X's will cost you around $500, a bit more $100 less than a single GTX 980Ti and on par or a little less expensive than a straight GTX 980. You have likely seen these cards compared but how often have you seen these cards pitted against a pair of GTX 960's which costs a little bit less than two 380X cards? [H]ard|OCP decided it was worth investigating, perhaps for those who currently have a single one of these cards that are considering a second if the price is right. The results are very tight, overall the two setups performed very similarly with some games favouring AMD and others NVIDIA, check out the full review here.
"We are evaluating two Radeon R9 380X video cards in CrossFire against two GeForce GTX 960 video cards in a SLI arrangement. We will overclock each setup to its highest, to experience the full gaming benefit each configuration has to offer. Additionally we will compare a Radeon R9 380 CrossFire setup to help determine the best value."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- With Pascal Ahead, A 16-Way Recap From NVIDIA's 9800 GTX To Maxwell @ Phoronix
- Maxwell Quadro For All: NVIDIA Quadro M2000 Workstation Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- PCI Express 3.0 vs. 2.0: Is There a Gaming Performance Gain? @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 16, 2016 - 03:19 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, tom petersen, pascal, nvidia, live, GTX 1080, gtx, GP104, geforce
Our review of the GeForce GTX 1080 is LIVE NOW, so be sure you check that out before today's live stream!!
Get yourself ready, it’s time for another GeForce GTX live stream hosted by PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and NVIDIA’s Tom Petersen. The general details about consumer Pascal and the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card are already official and based on the traffic to our stories and the response on Twitter and YouTube, there is more than a little pent-up excitement. .
On hand to talk about the new graphics card, answer questions about technologies in the GeForce family including Pascal, SLI, VR, Simultaneous Multi-Projection and more will be Tom Petersen, well known in our community. We have done quite a few awesome live steams with Tom in the past, check them out if you haven't already.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Live Stream
10am PT / 1pm ET - May 17th
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
The event will take place Tuesday, May 17th at 1pm ET / 10am PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Tom to answer live.
Tom has a history of being both informative and entertaining and these live streaming events are always full of fun and technical information that you can get literally nowhere else. Previous streams have produced news as well – including statements on support for Adaptive Sync, release dates for displays and first-ever demos of triple display G-Sync functionality. You never know what’s going to happen or what will be said!
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! This just in fellow gamers: Tom is going to be providing two GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards to give away during the live stream! We won't be able to ship them until availability hits at the end of May, but two lucky viewers of the live stream will be able to get their paws on the fastest graphics card we have ever tested!! Make sure you are scheduled to be here on May 17th at 10am PT / 1pm ET!!
Don't you want to win me??!?
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Tom or I?
So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Tuesday at 1pm ET / 10am PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 11, 2016 - 11:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, crimson, graphics drivers
For the second time this month, hence the version number, AMD has released a driver to coincide with a major game release. This one is for DOOM, which will be available on Friday. Like the previous driver, which was aligned with Forza, it has not been WHQL-certified. That's okay, though. NVIDIA's Game Ready drivers didn't strive for WHQL certification until just recently, and, even then, WHQL certification doesn't mean what it used to.
But yeah, apart from game-specific optimizations for DOOM, 16.5.2 has a few extra reasons to be used. If you play Battleborn, which launched on May 3rd, then AMD has added a new CrossFire profile for that game. They have also fixed at least eleven issues (plus however many undocumented ones). It comes with ten known issues, but none of them seem particularly troubling. It seems to be mostly CrossFire-related issues.
You can pick up the driver at AMD's website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 11, 2016 - 10:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sli, nvidia, GTX 1080, GeForce GTX 1080
Update (May 12th, 1:45am): Okay so the post has been deleted, which was originally from Chris Bencivenga, Support Manager at EVGA. A screenshot of it is attached below. Note that Jacob Freeman later posted that "More info about SLI support will be coming soon, please stay tuned." I guess this means take the news with a grain of salt until an official word can be released.
Original Post Below
According to EVGA, NVIDIA will not support three- and four-way SLI on the GeForce GTX 1080. They state that, even if you use the old, multi-way connectors, it will still be limited to two-way. The new SLI connector (called SLI HB) will provide better performance “than 2-way SLI did in the past on previous series”. This suggests that the old SLI connectors can be used with the GTX 1080, although with less performance and only for two cards.
This is the only hard information that we have on this change, but I will elaborate a bit based on what I know about graphics APIs. Basically, SLI (and CrossFire) are simplifications of the multi-GPU load-balancing problems such that it is easy to do from within the driver, without the game's involvement. In DirectX 11 and earlier, the game cannot interface with the driver in that way at all. That does not apply to DirectX 12 and Vulkan, however. In those APIs, you will be able to explicitly load-balance by querying all graphics devices (including APUs) and split the commands yourself.
Even though a few DirectX 12 games exist, it's still unclear how SLI and CrossFire will be utilized in the context of DirectX 12 and Vulkan. DirectX 12 has the tier of multi-GPU called “implicit multi-adapter,” which allows the driver to load balance. How will this decision affect those APIs? Could inter-card bandwidth even be offloaded via SLI HB in DirectX 12 and Vulkan at all? Not sure yet (but you would think that they would at least add a Vulkan extension). You should be able to use three GTX 1080s in titles that manually load-balance to three or more mismatched GPUs, but only for those games.
If it relies upon SLI, which is everything DirectX 11, then you cannot. You definitely cannot.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2016 - 07:50 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, maxwell, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 970, GTX 1080, geforce
The GTX 1080 announcement is starting to ripple into retailers, leading to price cuts on the previous generation, Maxwell-based SKUs. If you were interested in the GTX 1080, or an AMD graphics card of course, then you probably want to keep waiting. That said, you can take advantage of the discounts to get a VR-ready GPU or if you already have a Maxwell card that could use a cheap SLI buddy.
This tip comes from a NeoGAF thread. Microcenter has several cards on sale, but EVGA seems to have the biggest price cuts. This 980 Ti has dropped from $750 USD down to $499.99 (or $474.99 if you'll promise yourself to do that mail-in rebate). That's a whole third of its price slashed, and puts it about a hundred dollars under GTX 1080. Granted, it will also be slower than the GTX 1080, with 2GB less video RAM, but $100 might be worth that for you.