Subject: Graphics Cards | April 30, 2015 - 08:28 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: PC Gamer, gpu, Fiji, E3 2015, amd
We haven’t had much more than rumor and speculation about upcoming AMD graphics for a while now, but there is more than enough fresh fuel for the GPU fire today to ignore completely. It seems that AMD and PC Gamer magazine have teamed up to announce a special (what else) PC gaming event at this year’s E3 show on June 16, and this would be the perfect place for some new hardware announcements.
Not enough for you? Well, while the AMD Fiji GPU rumors are nothing new to followers of industry news, it has now been indirectly announced that the upcoming Fiji GPU from AMD will in fact feature 2.5D high-bandwidth memory (HBM). As reported by tech news/rumor site wccftech the announcement came via the official schedule for the upcoming Hot Chips symposium, which is slated for August 23-25 in Cupertino, California.
This screenshot was taken this morning from the official online event schedule
(Note: This part of the day 2 schedule has now been changed to read “AMD’s Next Generation GPU and Memory Architecture”, with all mention of Fiji and HBM removed.)
Whether this gives us insight into the actual release date of the long-awaited Fiji GPU from AMD is unclear, but new AMD GPU products certainly seem to be imminent as we move into the summer months. Speculation is fun (for a while), but hopefully the PC gaming event at E3 in June will provide at least some official news from AMD on the new GPU products we've been waiting for.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 29, 2015 - 03:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: GeForce 352.63, beta, windows 10
The new Win 10 NVIDIA GeForce driver is here, in two different flavours depending on your form factor. If you spend the money for a gaming laptop with a GeForce 600M through 900M then this is the driver for you. On the other hand if you have a traditional desktop and a GPU or two then head to this page.
If you have a Sony laptop you should double check your GPU is covered and unfortunately at this point Hybrid Power technology is not supported. NVIDIA did not provide much additional information on the desktop side; it is a beta and so is the OS so make sure to record the full information about your bugs and crashes when reporting them, not just a frowny face followed by expletives.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2015 - 04:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: GTA5, gaming, titan x, GTX 980, R9 290X, r9 295x2
Some sort of game involving driving stolen prostitutes into cars in an open sore world has arrived and the questions about what it takes to make the game look good are popping up like pills. [H]ard|OCP seems to have heard of the game and tested out its performance on the top performing video cards from AMD and NVIDIA in both single and doubles. You will get more out of a double but unfortunately only around a 50% improvement so obviously that second shot is watered down a bit. In the end the GTX TITAN X was the best choice for those who want to crank everything up, with the 980 tasting slightly better than the 290X for those that actually have to ask the price. Check the full review here.
"Grand Theft Auto V has finally been released on the PC. In this preview we will look at some video card comparisons in performance, maximize graphics settings at 1440p and 4K. We will briefly test AMD CHS Shadow and NVIDIA PCSS shadow and talk about them. We will even see if SLI and CrossFire work."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X @ [H]ard|OCP
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X 12 GB (SLI) @ Kitguru
- GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 20, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Red Hat, Khronos
With a brief blog post, Red Hat has announced that they are now members of the Khronos Group. Red Hat, one of the largest vendors of Linux software and services, would like to influence the direction of OpenGL and the upcoming Vulkan API. Also, apart from Valve, they are one of the only Linux vendors that contributes to the Khronos Group as an organization. I hope that their input counter-balances Apple, Google, and Microsoft, who are each members, in areas that are beneficial to the open-source operating system.
As for now, Red Hat intends to use their membership to propose OpenGL extensions as well as influence Vulkan as previously mentioned. It also seems reasonable that they would push for extensions to Vulkan, which the Khronos Group mentioned would support extensions at GDC, especially if something that they need fails to reach “core” status. While this feels late, I am glad that they at least joined now.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 19, 2015 - 02:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: moores law, Intel
While he was the director of research and development at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon E. Moore predicted that the number of components in an integrated circuits would double every year. Later, this time-step would slow to every two years; you can occasionally hear people talk about eighteen months too, but I am not sure who derived that number. In a few years, he would go on to found Intel with Robert Noyce, where they spend tens of billions of dollars annually to keep up with the prophecy.
It works out for the most part, but we have been running into physical issues over the last few years though. One major issue is that, with our process technology dipping into the single- and low double-digit nanometers, we are running out of physical atoms to manipulate. The distance between silicon atoms in a solid at room temperature is about 0.5nm; a 14nm product has features containing about 28 atoms, give or take a few in rounding error.
It has been a good fifty years since the start of Moore's Law. Humanity has been developing plans for how to cope with the eventual end of silicon lithography process shrinks. We will probably transition to smaller atoms and molecules and later consider alternative technologies like photonic crystals, which routes light in the hundreds of terahertz through a series of waveguides that make up an integrated circuit. Another interesting thought: will these technologies fall in line with Moore's Law in some way?
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 14, 2015 - 01:27 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, amd, GTA5
Grand Theft Auto V launched today at around midnight GMT worldwide. This corresponded to 7PM EDT for those of us in North America. Well, add a little time for Steam to unlock the title and a bit longer for Rockstar to get enough servers online. One thing you did not need to wait for was new video card drivers. Both AMD and NVIDIA have day-one drivers that provide support.
You can get the NVIDIA drivers at their landing page
You can get the AMD drivers at their release notes
Personally, I ran the game for about a half hour on Windows 10 (Build 10049) with a GeForce GTX 670. Since these drivers are not for the pre-release operating system, I tried running it on 349.90 to see how it performed before upgrading. Surprisingly, it seems to be okay (apart from a tree that was flickering in and out of existence during a cut-scene). I would definitely update my drivers if they were available and supported, but I'm glad that it seems to be playable even on Windows 10.
Way back in January of this year, while attending CES 2015 in Las Vegas, we wandered into the MSI suite without having any idea what we might see as new and exciting product. Besides the GT80 notebook with a mechanical keyboard on it, the MSI GS30 Shadow was easily the most interesting and exciting technology. Although MSI is not the first company to try this, the Shadow is the most recent attempt to combine the benefits of a thin and light notebook with a discrete, high performance GPU when the former is connected to the latter's docking station.
The idea has always been simple but the implementation has always been complex. Take a thin, light, moderately powered notebook that is usable and high quality in its own right and combine it with the ability to connect a discrete GPU while at home for gaming purposes. In theory, this is the best of both worlds: a notebook PC for mobile productivity and gaming capability courtesy of an external GPU. But as the years have gone on, more companies try and more companies fail; the integration process is just never as perfect a mix as we hope.
Today we see if MSI and the GS30 Shadow can fare any better. Does the combination of a very high performance thin and light notebook and the GamingDock truly create a mobile and gaming system that is worth your investment?
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 6, 2015 - 04:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: factory overclocked, powercolor pcs+, R9 290X
The lowest priced GTX 980 on Amazon is currently $530 while the PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X is $380, about 72% of the price of the GTX 980. The performance that [H]ard|OCP saw after overclocking the 290X was much closer, in some games even matching it but usually about 5-10% slower than the GTX 980, making it quite obvious which card is the better value. The GTX 970 is a different story, you can find a card for $310 and the performance is only slightly behind the 290X although the 290X takes a larger lead at higher resolutions. Read through the review carefully as the performance delta and overall smoothness varies from game to game but unless you like paying to brag about your handful of extra frames the 970 and 290X are the cards offering you the best bang for your buck.
"Today we examine what value the PowerColor PCS+ R9 290X holds compared to overclocked GeForce GTX 970. AMD's Radeon R9 290X pricing has dropped considerably since launch and constitutes a great value and competition for the GeForce GTX 970. At $350 this may be an excellent value compared to the competition."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB CrossFireX @ eTeknix
- Bitspower MSI GTX 970 Full Cover Waterblock @ Modders-Inc
- PNY GTX 980 XLR8 Pro OC Review @ Hardware Canucks
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X Overclocking & Best Playable Settings @ Techgage
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X @ NitroWare
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 27, 2015 - 04:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gtx titan x, linux, nvidia
Perhaps somewhere out there is a Linux user who wants a TITAN X and if there is they will like the results of Phoronix's testing. The card works perfectly straight out of the box with the latest 346.47 driver as well as the 349.12 Beta; if you want to use Nouveau then don't buy this card. The TITAN did not win any awards for power efficiency but for OpenCL tests, synthetic OpenGL benchmarks and Unigine on Linux it walked away a clear winner. Phoronix, and many others, hope that AMD is working on an updated Linux driver to accompany the new 300 series of cards we will see soon to help them be more competitive on open source systems.
If you are sick of TITAN X reviews by now, just skip to their 22 GPU performance roundup of Metro Redux.
"Last week NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce GTX TITAN X during their annual GPU Tech Conference. Of course, all of the major reviews at launch were under Windows and thus largely focused on the Direct3D performance. Now that our review sample arrived this week, I've spent the past few days hitting the TITAN X hard under Linux with various OpenGL and OpenCL workloads compared to other NVIDIA and AMD hardware on the binary Linux drivers."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan X 12GB @ Kitguru
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X @ Legion Hardware
- Asus GeForce GTX 970 DirectCU Mini @ Kitguru
- ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC @ [H]ard|OCP
- Zotac GeForce GTX980 AMP Omega Edition @ Bjorn3d
- PowerColor R9 285 2GB Turbo Duo @ Modders-Inc
- The Best Graphics Solution You Can Buy For Around £1000: Sapphire 295X2’s @ eTeknix
It's more than just a branding issue
As a part of my look at the first wave of AMD FreeSync monitors hitting the market, I wrote an analysis of how the competing technologies of FreeSync and G-Sync differ from one another. It was a complex topic that I tried to state in as succinct a fashion as possible given the time constraints and that the article subject was on FreeSync specifically. I'm going to include a portion of that discussion here, to recap:
First, we need to look inside the VRR window, the zone in which the monitor and AMD claims that variable refresh should be working without tears and without stutter. On the LG 34UM67 for example, that range is 48-75 Hz, so frame rates between 48 FPS and 75 FPS should be smooth. Next we want to look above the window, or at frame rates above the 75 Hz maximum refresh rate of the window. Finally, and maybe most importantly, we need to look below the window, at frame rates under the minimum rated variable refresh target, in this example it would be 48 FPS.
AMD FreeSync offers more flexibility for the gamer than G-Sync around this VRR window. For both above and below the variable refresh area, AMD allows gamers to continue to select a VSync enabled or disabled setting. That setting will be handled as you are used to it today when your game frame rate extends outside the VRR window. So, for our 34UM67 monitor example, if your game is capable of rendering at a frame rate of 85 FPS then you will either see tearing on your screen (if you have VSync disabled) or you will get a static frame rate of 75 FPS, matching the top refresh rate of the panel itself. If your game is rendering at 40 FPS, lower than the minimum VRR window, then you will again see the result of tearing (with VSync off) or the potential for stutter and hitching (with VSync on).
But what happens with this FreeSync monitor and theoretical G-Sync monitor below the window? AMD’s implementation means that you get the option of disabling or enabling VSync. For the 34UM67 as soon as your game frame rate drops under 48 FPS you will either see tearing on your screen or you will begin to see hints of stutter and judder as the typical (and previously mentioned) VSync concerns again crop their head up. At lower frame rates (below the window) these artifacts will actually impact your gaming experience much more dramatically than at higher frame rates (above the window).
G-Sync treats this “below the window” scenario very differently. Rather than reverting to VSync on or off, the module in the G-Sync display is responsible for auto-refreshing the screen if the frame rate dips below the minimum refresh of the panel that would otherwise be affected by flicker. So, in a 30-144 Hz G-Sync monitor, we have measured that when the frame rate actually gets to 29 FPS, the display is actually refreshing at 58 Hz, each frame being “drawn” one extra instance to avoid flicker of the pixels but still maintains a tear free and stutter free animation. If the frame rate dips to 25 FPS, then the screen draws at 50 Hz. If the frame rate drops to something more extreme like 14 FPS, we actually see the module quadruple drawing the frame, taking the refresh rate back to 56 Hz. It’s a clever trick that keeps the VRR goals and prevents a degradation of the gaming experience. But, this method requires a local frame buffer and requires logic on the display controller to work. Hence, the current implementation in a G-Sync module.
As you can see, the topic is complicated. So Allyn and I (and an aging analog oscilloscope) decided to take it upon ourselves to try and understand and teach the implementation differences with the help of some science. The video below is where the heart of this story is focused, though I have some visual aids embedded after it.
Still not clear on what this means for frame rates and refresh rates on current FreeSync and G-Sync monitors? Maybe this will help.