Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 28, 2012 - 01:20 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, end of nations, beta
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Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile | July 27, 2012 - 02:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, winRT, gpgpu
Paul Thurrott of Windows Supersite reports that Windows 8 is finally taking hardware acceleration seriously and will utilize the GPU across all applications. This hardware acceleration should make Windows 8 perform better and consume less power than if the setup were running Windows 7. With Microsoft finally willing to adopt modern hardware for performance and battery life I wonder when they will start using the GPU to accelerate tasks like file encryption.
It is painful when you have the right tool for the job but must use the wrong one.
Windows has, in fact, used graphics acceleration for quite some time albeit in fairly mundane and obvious ways. Windows Vista and Windows 7 brought forth the Windows Aero Glass look and feel. Aero was heavily reliant on Shader Model 2.0 GPU computing to the point that much of it would not run on anything less.
Washington State is not that far away from Oregon.
Microsoft is focusing their hardware acceleration efforts for Windows 8 on what they call mainstream graphics. 2D graphics and animation were traditionally CPU-based with a couple of applications such as Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and eventually Chrome allowing the otherwise idle GPU to lend a helping hand. As such, Microsoft is talking up Direct2D and DirectWrite usage all throughout Windows 8 on a wide variety of hardware.
The driving force that neither Microsoft nor Paul Thurrott seems to directly acknowledge is battery life. Graphics Processors are considered power-hogs until just recently for almost anyone who assembles a higher-end gaming computer. Despite this, the GPU is actually more efficient at certain tasks than a CPU -- this is especially true when you consider the GPUs which will go into WinRT devices. The GPU will help the experience be more responsive and smooth but also consume less battery power. I guess Microsoft is finally believes that the time is right to bother using what you already have.
There are many more tasks which can be GPU accelerated than just graphics -- be it 3D or the new emphasis on 2D acceleration. Hopefully after Microsoft dips in their toe they will take the GPU more seriously as an all-around parallel task processor. Maybe now that they are implementing the GPU for all applications they can consider using it for all applications -- in all applications.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 26, 2012 - 02:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 670, gtx 660 Ti, GK104
Earlier this year, we covered rumors on several mid-range NVIDIA Kepler graphics cards. Swedish enthusiast site Sweclockers claims to have launch specifications and pricing on one of those cards: the GTX 660 Ti. The specifications the site has managed to get a hold of reinforce previous rumors except for the amount of RAM. While initial reports suggested the GTX 660 Ti would have either 1.5 GB or 3 GB, Sweclockers has stated that the card will have 2 GB of GDDR5 memory.
Aside from the bump down in the memory interface to a 192-bit bus (from the 256-bit interface of the GTX 670) capable of 144.19 GB/s throughput, the GTX 660 Ti is nearly the same as the currently available GTX 670. Allegedly, the GTX 660 Ti will run at the same GPU and memory clockspeeds as the GTX 670 – 915 MHz base/980 MHz boost and 6008 MHz effective respectively. The reference design will further be a dual-slot design with two DVI, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort output. Allegedly, it will be powered by two six-pin PCI-E power connectors and will have a 150W TDP, which means it needs slightly less cooling than the GTX 670 (which has a 170W TDP).
Interestingly, the site claims that the GTX 660 Ti will be available for purchase on August 16, 2012 for a bit over 3000 SEK (including VAT) which is roughly $436 (minus VAT since we do not have that). This price is in contrast to our prediction of a $300 to $400 graphics card. It may end up being very close to the high-end $400 number, or a bit above as it is very similar to the GTX 670. Hopefully the change in the amount of graphics memory means that you will be able to get custom 4GB GTX 660 Ti cards.
You can find more information about NVIDIA’s latest “Kepler” GK104 cards in our recent GTX 670 review. Are you ready for the mid-range NVIDIA cards? Which ones are you planning to get, should the rumored specs hold true?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2012 - 08:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: A New Dawn, video, nvidia, kepler
NVIDIA has released a demo for their latest GPUs which might be a little familiar for long-time PC gamers. A New Dawn is a remake of their Dawn demo for the GeForce FX line of graphics processors -- now with less fake Subsurface Scattering.
What better way to gratify your purchases than scantily clad demihumans?
It has been just months shy of a decade ago when NVIDIA revealed Dawn to attendees of the 2002 Game Developer’s Conference. Dawn, titled after both lead character as well as setting, was set to promote NVIDIA’s GeForce FX line of graphics processors.
Less lensflare than a dance-pop video.
Every day I'm fluttering -- ROFL.
A New Dawn demonstrates the progression between early-stage DirectX 9 through current DirectX 11.1 hardware. Dawn has been remodeled and reskinned with actual subsurface scattering to liven up her skin; fine-grained hair with blur shaders to prevent aliasing; and certainly no extra clothing. Her environment is modeled and tessellated -- a step up from the box she used to reside in.
A New Dawn is available for download from NVIDIA’s website if your system meets the minimum specifications -- which, if you have a Kepler GPU, is quite forgiving for a system that a Kepler GPU would make sense to be in.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2012 - 11:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: radeon hd 7990, GCN, dual gpu, amd, 7990
The long-awaited dual GPU Graphics Core Next architecture Radeon HD 7990 has missed its original Computex reveal and will likely miss the July release suggested by previous rumors. Interestingly, VR-Zone China reportedly has some updated information on specifications and release date.
The 7970. Expect the 7990 to have a much larger PCB and heatsink!
The dual GPU 7990 will allegedly not be released until at least late August 2012. Further, it will be powered by four six-pin PCI-E power connectors, and will have 6GB of GDDR5 memory (total, 3GB per GPU). Connecting the two 7970 Tahiti XT GPU cores in CrossFire will be a PLX chip – similar to that found in the dual GPU NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card. As far as video outputs, you can expect four mini-DisplayPorts and two dual-link DVI connectors.
Additionally, previous rumors suggested that the GPU cores would be clocked at 850 MHz, but that may not be the case now that AMD is seeing much better binning with its GHz Edition chips. Also unclear is whether or not the Radeon HD 7990 will have any sort of Powertune with Turbo boost technology like the 7970 GHz Edition. Being based on two 7970 GPU cores, you can look forward to 4,096 stream processors, 64 ROP units, and a dual slot design with three fans providing cooling for the heatsink.
Right now, AMD does not have an answer to the NVIDIA GTX 690 which has been on the market for a while. At this point, you may be better off getting two 7970 GHz Edition graphics cards and putting them in CrossFire. Granted, they are going to take up more space in your case but you can get them today, they will have GPU boost, and will likely cost less to boot. With that said, I do understand the allure of a dual GPU AMD card based on GCN and hope to see it soon.
Stay tuned for more Radeon 7990 coverage as it arrives.
The HAWK Returns
The $300 to $400 range of video cards has become quite crowded as of late. If we can remember way back to March when AMD introduced their HD 7800 series of cards, and later that month we saw NVIDIA release their GTX 680 card. Even though NVIDIA held the price/performance crown, AMD continued to offer their products at what many considered to be grossly overpriced considering the competition. Part of this was justified because NVIDIA simply could not meet demand of their latest card, and they were often unavailable for purchase at MSRPs. Eventually AMD started cutting back prices, but this led to another issue. The HD 7950 was approaching the price of the HD 7870 GHz Edition. The difference in prices between these products was around $20, but the 7950 was around 20% faster than the 7870. This made the HD 7870 (and the slightly higher priced overclocked models) a very unattractive option for users.
It seems as though AMD and their partners have finally rectified this situation, and just in time. With NVIDIA finally being able to adequately provide stock for both the GTX 680 and GTX 670, the prices on the upper-midrange cards has taken a nice drop to where we feel they should be. We are now starting to see some very interesting products based on the HD 7850 and HD 7870 cards, one of which we are looking at today.
The MSI R7870 HAWK
The R7870 Hawk utilizes the AMD HD 7870 GPU. This chip has a reference speed of 1 GHz, but with the Hawk it is increased to a full 1100 MHz. The GPU has the entire 20 compute units enabled featuring 1280 stream processors. It has the 256 bit memory bus running 2GB of GDDR-5 memory at 1200 MHz, which gives a total bandwidth of 160 GB/sec. I am somewhat disappointed that MSI did not give the memory speed a boost, but at least the user can enable that for themselves through the Afterburner software.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 05:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd
Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market. With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.
AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB
We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit. Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.
AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $499
Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $429
Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $349
Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $299
Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239
Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $124
Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series
GeForce GTX 690 4GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $999
GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499
GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
In a stunning change of fate, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 has been steadily in stock for the last few weeks but the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that we reviewed on June 24th has yet to show its face. Yes, you can find HD 7970 cards running at 1000 MHz core clock speeds (and higher) though they don't have the 6.0 Gbps memory speeds nor the "PowerTune with Boost" technology that really set the new version of the GPU apart.
When asked, AMD told us to expect Sapphire and XFX models in stock early next week - so we'll definitely keep an eye on the online retailers for that.
The only other changes are some more price drops on the AMD side. You can now get a standard HD 7970 for $80 less than the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7950 for $50 less than the GTX 670. AMD knows that with NVIDIA's great branding and marketing they needed to make a case for their GPUs over the competition and these types of price cuts really give gamers two great options for their gaming dollar.
We are still waiting on NVIDIA's answer for sub-$399 GPUs based on Kepler - hopefully we won't be waiting long.
If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:
- Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
- GeForce GTX 670
- GeForce GTX 690
- GeForce GTX 680
- MSI R7970 Lightning
- Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850
- Radeon HD 7770 and HD 7750
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon HD 7970
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 12:02 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toxic edition, sapphire, radeon, overclocked GPU, gpu, 7970 ghz edition
GPU add-in-board partner Sapphire Technology has launched a new factory overclocked graphics card based on the AMD 7970 GHz Edition GPU (which we did a live video review of recently). That particular chip is built on the 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and brings several improvements over the initial (non GHz Edition) 7970 GPU. The main difference between the two is that the GHz variant is a higher binned part that also features a new GPU boost technology similar to NVIDIA’s dynamic overclocking function. The new Sapphire Toxic card takes that chip and pushes it to the max with two levels of factory overclocked settings.
Packing the company’s custom dual 90mm fan and heatpipe-equipped Vapor-X cooler, the HD 7970 TOXIC Edition features 6GB of GDDR5 memory, 2,048 stream processors, and a 7970 GHz Edition GPU. Out of the box, the card has a base GPU clockspeed of 1050 MHz and a boost speed of 1100 MHz. On the memory side of things, it runs the GDDR5 at 6,000 MHz (effective). When you press a button – which the company calls the Lethal Boost Button – the base clockspeed becomes 1100 MHz and the boost speed becomes 1200 MHz. The Lethal Boost also overclocks the memory to 6400 MHz (effective).
The card also includes a 12 layer black PCB with a new eight phase power design package for the GPU and an additional power phase for the VDDCI and MVDD along with other high-end goodies to deliver the stable voltage necessary for the high factory overclocks. Rear IO on the graphics card includes two DVI ports – one dual link and one single link – one mini-DisplayPort, and one full-sized HDMI port. In all, it is a dual slot card and measures 275mm in length, and 115mm wide. You will be able to purchase the Toxic edition card for $680. It looks like a really good card, but it’s not cheap.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2012 - 11:23 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Overclocked, nvidia, gt640, gpu, gddr3
Interestingly, in spite of recent rumors suggesting that NVIDIA is refreshing the low-end GeForce GT 640 graphics card with GDDR5 memory, add-in-board partner Point Of View is launching an overclocked GT 640. What’s interesting is that the new card will be packing the older GDDR3. The card will come in two SKUs, a 1GB and a 2GB model – both with 384 CUDA cores. Using a 128-bit memory interface and a PCI-E 3.0 card interface, the card is based on NVIDIA’s 28nm “Kepler” GPU.
In addition to the GDDR3 memory, specifications include a 1006 MHz graphics clock, and 2020 MHz memory clock. Compared to the reference GT 640, the overclocked GT 640 has a healthy boost. The reference GPU clock speed is only 900 MHz while the memory clock speed is 1800 Mhz, meaning the Point of View TGT Ultra Charged has a 106 MHz GPU and 220 MHz memory overclock – very respectable. As Techpowerup notes, the factory overclocked card will cost around or € 115 with VAT tax (around $120 USD). That puts this card in between an AMD 7750 and AMD 7770. The overclocks should help it to get closer to the performance of the 7750, but it is still rather difficult to justify. Especially with a refreshed version with GDDR5 rumored to be in the works, I would hold off on buying any current GT 640 cards, and I think from our recent podcast Ryan would agree with me.\
What do you think though; let us know in the comments below. You can read more about the new factory overclocked GeForce GT 640 over at TechPowerUp.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2012 - 02:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, hd7970, hd 7970 ghz edition, hd 7870 ghz edition, hd 7870, amd
AMD today announced that the HD7970 GHz Edition will be available on July 16th for a MSRP of $500. As well there will be a 7870 GHz Edition as well, retailing for around $300 which is a rather nice price point for a premium model of the 7870. As far as changes to existing models, the Radeon HD 7970 will be available for $429 and the HD 7950 will be available for $349. While these prices may disappoint early adopters, perhaps the fact that a CrossFire setup has become more affordable will give some comfort.
These new prices will come in conjunction with AMD's "Three-for-Free promotion" which will allow you to choose three DX11 games to acquire for free along with your purchase of a Tahiti based Radeon GPU. For those on a lower budget, the 7870 GHz Edition will net you a free copy of DiRT Showdown.