Subject: Graphics Cards | April 24, 2013 - 07:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: amd, powercolor, hd 7990, malta, dual gpu, crossfire
PowerColor (a TUL corporation brand) launched its dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990 V2 graphics card, and this time the card is based on the (recently reviewed) official dual-GPU AMD “Malta” GPU announced at the Games Developers Conference (GDC). The new HD 7990 V2 graphics card features two AMD HD 7970 cards in a Crossfire configuration. That means that the Malta-based card features a total of 4096 stream processors, and a rated 8.2 TFLOPS of peak performance.
The PowerColor HD 7990 V2 joins the company’s existing Devil 13 and HD 7990 graphics cards. The new card sports a triple-fan shrouded heatsink that is somewhat tamer-looking that the custom Devil 13. Other hardware includes 3GB of GDDR5 RAM per GPU clocked at 1500MHz and running on a 384-bit bus (again, per GPU) for a total of 6GB. Both GPUs have clock speeds of 950MHz base and up to 1GHz boost.
The new GPU has a single DL-DVI and four mini-DisplayPort video outputs. PowerColor is touting the card’s Eyefinity prowess as well as its ZeroCore support for reducing power usage when idle. The board has a TDP of 750W and is powered by two PCI-E power connections. In all, the HD 7990 V2 graphics card measures 305 x 110 x 38mm. While PowerColor has not released pricing or availability, expect the card to be available soon and around the same price (or a bit lower than) as its existing (custom) HD 7990.
The full press release can be found here.
The card we have been expecting
Despite all the issues that were brought up with our new graphics performance testing methodology we are calling Frame Rating, there is little debate in the industry that AMD is making noise once again in the graphics field. From the elaborate marketing and game bundles with all Radeon HD 7000 series cards over the last year to the hiring of Roy Taylor, VP of sales but also the company's most vocal supporter.
Along with the marketing though goes plenty of technology and important design wins. With the dominance of the APU on the console side (Wii U, Playstation 4 and the next Xbox), AMD is making sure that the familiarity with its GPU architecture there pays dividends on the PC side as well. Developers will be focusing on AMD's graphics hardware for 5-10 years with the console generation and that could result in improved performance and feature support for Radeon graphics for PC gamers.
Today's release of the Radeon HD 7990 6GB Malta dual-GPU graphics card shows a renewed focus on high-end graphics markets since the release of the Radeon HD 7970 in January of 2012. And while you may have seen something for sale previously with the HD 7990 name attached, those were custom designs built by partners, not by AMD.
Both ASUS and PowerColor currently have high-end dual-Tahiti cards for sale. The PowerColor HD 7990 Devil 13 used the brand directly but ASUS' ARES II kept away from the name and focused on its own high-end card brands instead.
The "real" Radeon HD 7990 card was first teased at GDC in March and takes a much less dramatic approach to its design without being less impressive technically. The card includes a pair of Tahiti, HD 7970-class GPUs on a single PCB with 6GB of total memory. The raw specifications are listed here:
Considering there are two HD 7970 GPUs on the HD 7990, the doubling of the major specs shouldn't be surprising though it is a little deceiving. There are 8.6 billion transistors yes, but there are still 4.3 billion on each GPU. Yes there are 4096 stream processors but only 2048 on each GPU requiring software GPU scaling to increase performance. The same goes with texture fill rate, compute performance, memory bandwidth, etc. The same could be said for all dual-GPU graphics cards though.
A very early look at the future of Catalyst
Today is a very interesting day for AMD. It marks both the release of the reference design of the Radeon HD 7990 graphics card, a dual-GPU Tahiti behemoth, and the first sample of a change to the CrossFire technology that will improve animation performance across the board. Both stories are incredibly interesting and as it turns out both feed off of each other in a very important way: the HD 7990 depends on CrossFire and CrossFire depends on this driver.
If you already read our review (or any review that is using the FCAT / frame capture system) of the Radeon HD 7990, you likely came away somewhat unimpressed. The combination of a two AMD Tahiti GPUs on a single PCB with 6GB of frame buffer SHOULD have been an incredibly exciting release for us and would likely have become the single fastest graphics card on the planet. That didn't happen though and our results clearly state why that is the case: AMD CrossFire technology has some serious issues with animation smoothness, runt frames and giving users what they are promised.
Our first results using our Frame Rating performance analysis method were shown during the release of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan card in February. Since then we have been in constant talks with the folks at AMD to figure out what was wrong, how they could fix it, and what it would mean to gamers to implement frame metering technology. We followed that story up with several more that showed the current state of performance on the GPU market using Frame Rating that painted CrossFire in a very negative light. Even though we were accused by some outlets of being biased or that AMD wasn't doing anything incorrectly, we stuck by our results and as it turns out, so does AMD.
Today's preview of a very early prototype driver shows that the company is serious about fixing the problems we discovered.
If you are just catching up on the story, you really need some background information. The best place to start is our article published in late March that goes into detail about how game engines work, how our completely new testing methods work and the problems with AMD CrossFire technology very specifically. From that piece:
It will become painfully apparent as we dive through the benchmark results on the following pages, but I feel that addressing the issues that CrossFire and Eyefinity are creating up front will make the results easier to understand. We showed you for the first time in Frame Rating Part 3, AMD CrossFire configurations have a tendency to produce a lot of runt frames, and in many cases nearly perfectly in an alternating pattern. Not only does this mean that frame time variance will be high, but it also tells me that the value of performance gained by of adding a second GPU is completely useless in this case. Obviously the story would become then, “In Battlefield 3, does it even make sense to use a CrossFire configuration?” My answer based on the below graph would be no.
An example of a runt frame in a CrossFire configuration
NVIDIA's solution for getting around this potential problem with SLI was to integrate frame metering, a technology that balances frame presentation to the user and to the game engine in a way that enabled smoother, more consistent frame times and thus smoother animations on the screen. For GeForce cards, frame metering began as a software solution but was actually integrated as a hardware function on the Fermi design, taking some load off of the driver.
New GeForce Game-Ready Drivers Just in Time for 'Dead Island: Riptide,' 'Star Trek', 'Neverwinter'; Boost Performance up to 20%
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 23, 2013 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce, 320.00 beta
GeForce 320.00 beta drivers are now available for automatic download and installation using GeForce Experience, the easiest way to keep your drivers up to date.
With a single click in GeForce Experience, gamers can also optimize the image quality of top new games like Dead Island: Riptide and have it instantly tuned to take full advantage of their PC’s hardware.
Here are examples of the performance increases in GeForce 320.00 drivers (measured with GeForce GTX 660):
- Up to 20% in Dirt: Showdown
- Up to 18% in Tomb Raider
- Up to 8% in StarCraft II
- Up to 6% in other top games like Far Cry 3
For more details, refer to the release highlights on the driver download pages and read the GeForce driver article on GeForce.com.
Enjoy the new GeForce Game Ready drivers and let us know what you think.
Windows Vista/Windows 7 Fixed Issues
The Windows 7 Magnifier window flickers. 
Games default to stereoscopic 3D mode after installing the driver. 
[GeForce 330M][Notebook]: The display goes blank when rebooting the notebook after installing th e driver. 
[Crysis 3]: There are black artifacts in the game. 
[Dirt 3]: When ambient occlusion is enabled, there is rendering corruption in the game while in split-screen mode. 
[3DTV Play][Mass Effect]: The NVIDIA Cont rol Panel “override antialiasing” setting does not work when stereoscopic 3D is enabled 
[Microsoft Flight Simulator]: Level D Simulations add-on aircraft gauges are not drawn correctly. 
[GeForce 500 series][Stereoscopic 3D][Two World 2]: The application crashes when switching to windowed mode with stereoscopic 3D enabled. 
[GeForce 660 Ti][All Points Bulletin (APB) Reloaded]: The game crashes occasionally, followed by a black/grey/red screen. 
[Geforce GTX 680][Red Orchestra 2 Heroes of Stalingrad]: Red-screen crash occurs after exiting the game. 
[GeForce 6 series][Final Fantasy XI]: TDR crash occurs in the game when using the Smite of Rage ability. 
[SLI][Surround][GeForce GTX Titan][Tomb Raider]: There is corruption in the game and the system hangs when played at high resolution and Ultra or Ultimate settings. 
[3D Surround, SLI], GeForce 500 Series: With Surround enabled, all displays may not be activated when selecting Activate All Displays from the NVIDIA Control Panel- > Set SLI Configuration page. 
[SLI][Starcraft II][3D Vision]: The game crashes when run with 3D Vision enabled. 
[SLI][GeForce GTX 680][Tomb Raider (2013)]: The game crashes and TDR occurs while running the game at Ultra settings. 
[SLI][Starcraft II][3D Vision]: The game cras hes when played with 3D Vision and SLI enabled. 
SLI][Call of Duty: Black Ops 2]: The player emblems are not drawn correctly.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 23, 2013 - 10:05 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, never settle, never settle reloaded, bundle
While browsing around on Twitter today I saw mention of a leaked slide on the Tech Report forums that seems to point in the direction of upcoming games to be included in future AMD Never Settle gaming bundles. AMD has been knocking the ball out of the park when it comes to bundled software with graphics card releases as they have gotten essentially every major PC game in the last 12 months.
This slide indicates that Grid 2, Company of Heroes 2, Rome: Total War II, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Lost Planet 3, Battlefield 4, Raven's Cry and Watch Dogs will all eventually make their way to the AMD bundle list at some point this year. Whether it will be in one mega-bundle or several different promotions throughout the year isn't known, but AMD is serious about keeping up appearances in the PC gaming front.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 19, 2013 - 02:51 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: raja koduri, apple, amd
Interesting information has surfaced today about the addition of a new executive at AMD. Raja Koduri, who previously worked for ATI and AMD as Chief Technology Officer, departed the company in 2009 for a four year stint at Apple, helping to turn that company into an SoC power house. Developing its own processors has enabled Apple to stand apart from the competition in many mobile spaces and Koduri is partly responsible for the technological shift at Apple.
Starting on Monday though, Raja Koduri is officially back at AMD, taking over as the CVP (Corporate Vice President) of Visual Computing. This position will result in more complete control over the entirety of the hardware and software platforms AMD is developing including desktop discrete, mobile and APU/SoC designs. This marks the second major returning visionary executive in recent memory to AMD, the first of which was Jim Keller in August of 2012 (also returning from a period with Apple).
It will take some time for Koduri to have effect on AMD's current roadmap
Having known Raja Koduri for quite a long time I have always seen the man as an incredibly intelligent engineer that was able to find strengths in designs that others could not. Much of the success of the ATI/AMD GPU divisions during the 2000s was due to Koduri's leadership (among others of course) and I think having him back at AMD at an even more senior role is great news for both discrete graphics fans and APU users.
In a discussion with Koduri recently, Anandtech got some positive feedback for PC gamers:
Raja believes there’s likely another 15 years ahead of us for good work in high-end discrete graphics, so we’ll continue to see AMD focus on that part of the market.
Koduri sees 15 years more GPU evolution
So even though this hiring isn't going to change AMD's position on the APU and SoC strategy, it is good to have someone at the CVP level that sees the importance and value of discrete, high power GPU technology.
In many talks with AMD over the last 6 months we kept hearing about the healthy influx of quality personnel though much of it was still under wraps. Keller was definitely one of them and Koduri is another and both of the hires give a lot of hope for AMD as a company going forward. Some in the industry have already written AMD off but I find it hard to believe that this caliber of executive would return to a sinking ship.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | April 18, 2013 - 08:52 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, seiki, se50UY04, hdtv, hdmi 1.4, displays, 4k, 3840x2160
This just in! We have a 4K TV in the PC Perspective Offices!
While we are still working on the ability to test graphics card performance at this resolution with our Frame Rating capture system, we decided to do a live stream earlier today as we unboxed, almost dropped and then eventually configured our new 4K TV.
The TV in question? A brand new SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in 3840x2160 ready display. Haven't heard of it? Neither have we. I picked it up over the weekend from TigerDirect for $1299, though it actually a bit higher now at $1499.
The TV itself is pretty unassuming and other than looking for the 4K label on the box you'd be hard pressed to discern it from other displays. It DID come with a blue, braided UHD-ready HDMI cable, so there's that.
One point worth noting is that the stand on the TV is pretty flimsy; there was definitely wobble after installation and setup.
Connecting the TV to our test system was pretty easy - only a single HDMI cable was required and the GeForce GTX 680s in SLI we happened to have on our test bed recognized it as a 3840x2160 capable display. Keep in mind that you are limited to a refresh rate of 30 Hz though due to current limitations of HDMI 1.4. The desktop was clear and sharper and if you like screen real estate...this has it.
The first thing we wanted to try was some 4K video playback and we tried YouTube videos, some downloaded clips we found scattered across the Internet and a couple of specific examples I had been saving. Isn't that puppy cute? It was by far the best picture I had seen on a TV that close up - no other way to say it.
We did have issues with video playback in some cases due to high bit rates. In one case we had a YUV uncompressed file that was hitting our SSD so hard on read speeds that we saw choppiness. H.265 save us!
And of course we demoed some games as well - Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Skyrim and Tomb Raider. Each was able to run at 3840x2160 without any complaints or INI hacks. They all looked BEAUTIFUL when in a still position but we did notice some flickering on the TV that might be the result of the 120 Hz interpolation and possibly the "dynamic luminance control" feature that SEIKI has.
We'll definitely test some more on this in the coming days to see if we can find a solution as I know many PC gamers are going to be excited about the possibility of using this as a gaming display! We are working on a collection of benchmarks on some of the higher end graphics solutions like the GeForce TITAN, GTX 680s, HD 7990 and HD 7970s!
If you want to check out the full experience of our unboxing and first testing, check out the full live stream archived below!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2013 - 04:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, HD 7850 DirectCU II
With a custom cooler, 1 DP port, 2 DVI-I connectors, and 1 HDMI connector and only requiring a single PCIe 6 pin power connector the ASUS 7850 DirectCU II is a great blend of efficiency and flexibility for those looking for a card which costs around $200. On the other hand if you have no plans to overclock the card, the GTX660 which [H]ard|OCP compared this card to is slightly more powerful, costs the same and is a better choice for those who are planning on running dual GPUs. Check out the overclocked performance of this HD7850 in the full review.
"ASUS has refreshed its AMD Radeon HD 7850 DirectCU II video card with DirectCU and DIGI+ VRM with Super Alloy Power, poised to give you a robust video card with an improved overclocking experience. We will see whether this new revision brings new value to the Radeon HD 7850 GPU and we will compare it to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 PCS+ Review @ OCC
- Asus Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC 1GB @ eTeknix
- XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition OC 1GB @ eTeknix
- XFX R7790 Black Edition OC @ LanOC Reviews
- Club3D Radeon HD 7790 13Series 1GB @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7790 1GB & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Review @ Techgage
- ASUS Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- 23 AMD Radeon HD 7870 / 7950 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 / 660 Ti graphics card round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon Gallium3D More Competitive With Catalyst On Linux @ Phoronix
- Diamond BizView 750 @ LanOC Reviews
- History of the GPU, Part 3: The Nvidia vs. ATI era begins @ Techspot
- History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 4: The GPGPU era arrives @ TechSpot
- iXBT Labs Review: i3DSpeed, March 2013
- ASUS GTX670 DirectCU Mini OC @ Hardware.info
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Roundup @ Hardware Canucks
- GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI @ LanOC Reviews
- Palit GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB OC @ Tweaktown
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 650 TI Boost Edition @ Modders-Inc
- EVGA GTX 650 Ti Boost SC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Twin Frozr Edition Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- MSI GTX 650Ti Boost Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost GS Dual & GTX 660 GS Dual @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 16, 2013 - 10:24 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, metro last light, Metro
Late this evening we got word from NVIDIA about an update to its game bundle program for GeForce GTX 600 series cards. Replacing the previously running Free to Play bundle that included $50 in credit for each World of Tanks, Hawken and Planetside 2 title, NVIDIA is moving back to the AAA game with Metro: Last Light.
Metro: Last Light is the sequel to surprise hit from 2010, Metro 2033 and I am personally really looking forward to the game and seeing how it can stress PC hardware like the first did.
This bundle is only good for GTX 660 cards and above with the GTX 650 Ti sticking with the Free to Play $75 credit offer.
NVIDIA today announced that gamers who purchase a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or above would also receive a copy of the highly anticipated Metro: Last Light, published by Deep Silver and is the sequel to the multi award winning Metro 2033. Metro: Last Light will be available May 14, 2013 within the US and May 17, 2013 across Europe.
The deal is already up and running on Newegg.com but with the release date of Metro: Last Light set at May 14th, you'll have just about a month to wait before you can get your hands on it.
How do you think this compares to AMD's currently running bundle with Bioshock Infinite and more? Did NVIDIA step up its game this time around?
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 16, 2013 - 03:01 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: vsync, stutter, smoothness, microstutter, frame rating, animation
We are running a poll in conjunction with our Frame Rating: Visual Effects of Vsync on Gaming Animation story that compares animation smoothness between fixed 30 FPS and 60 FPS captures and Vsync enabled versions.
If you haven't read the story linked above, these questions won't make any sense to you so please go read it and then stop back here to answer the polls!
Get notified when we go live!