NVIDIA Releases GeForce 372.90 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2016 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

With Forza Horizon 3 coming out for Ultimate Edition SKU users in a little over a day, NVIDIA has released their new Game Ready drivers. GeForce 372.90 drivers roll in all of NVIDIA's fixes for the game that have been discovered during its development.

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Thankfully, unlike the slippage that I've witnessed from them recently in this regard, the release notes for 372.90 are quite verbose (PDF). For instance, and this probably affects a few of our readers, NVIDIA has finally fixed the issue with HTC Vive over DisplayPort. Their description sounds like it wasn't failing to connect, as users believed, but rather it was just failing to light up the display. Of course, from a user's standpoint, a black screen is a black screen, but it's interesting to see what honest admissions of what exactly any given error was.

So, TL;DR: HTC Vive users should be able to use it over DisplayPort with Pascal again.

Also, they announced that the driver contains security updates. They don't elaborate on what specifically was fixed, especially since it will take a while for users to update, but it sounds like NVIDIA was in bug-fixing mode with this driver, which I appreciate.

You can get GeForce 372.90 from GeForce Experience and their website.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2016 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, graphics drivers, crimson

Continuing with AMD's attempts, especially since the start of the Crimson Edition line, to release a driver alongside big game releases, the graphics vendor has published Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2. This one aligns with the Ultimate Edition SKU of Forza Horizon 3 from Microsoft Studios, which unlocks in a little over a day. Standard and Deluxe Edition users will need to wait until Tuesday, the 27th. As always, it rolls in all of the tweaks and fixes that AMD has found prior to the game's general release.

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Also, AMD has fixed several issues, according to their pleasantly verbose release notes. Crimson Edition 16.9.2 should resolve crashes that occur in Multi-GPU mode with Ashes of the Singularity in DirectX 12. It should also fix things like mouse pointer corruption on RX 400 series graphics.

You can pick it up from AMD's website, for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, both 32- and 64-bit versions.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Bundles Gears of War 4 with GTX 1080 & GTX 1070

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 20, 2016 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, xbox, xbox one, pc gaming, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070

NVIDIA has just announced that specially marked, 10-series GPUs will be eligible for a Gears of War 4 download code. This bundle applies to GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070 desktop GPUs, as well as laptops which integrate either of those two GPUs. As always, if you plan on purchasing a GPU due to this bundle, make sure that the product page for your retailer mentions the bundle.

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Also, through the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, NVIDIA claims that this code can be used to play the game on Xbox One as well. Xbox Play Anywhere allows users to purchase a game on either of Microsoft's software stores, Xbox Store or Windows Store, and it will automatically count as a purchase for the cross-platform equivalent. It also has implications for cloud saves, but that's a story for another day.

The bundle begins today, September 20th. Gears of War 4 launches on October 11th.

Source: NVIDIA

Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming and Xtreme VR Link on the bench

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 20, 2016 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, GTX 1080, GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Premium, factory overclocked, GIGABYTE Xtreme Engine, vr link

Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming comes with a nice overclock right out of the box, 1759MHz base, 1898MHz boost clock and a small bump to the VRAM frequency to 10.2GHz.  At the push of a button you can add an extra 25MHz to the GPUs clocks assuming you install the bundled GIGABYTE Xtreme Engine which also allows you to manually tweak your settings.  The Package part of the official name indicates that Gigabyte's Xtreme VR Link header panel is included with the card, you can install it in the front of your case to provide easy access to two HDMI connectors and two USB 3.0 ports for a VR headset. 

Pop on over to [H]ard|OCP to see how much more they could get out of the card as well as the effect it had on gameplay.

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"GIGABYTE’s GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Premium Pack is one premium package of goodness. Not only have we got one of the fastest GeForce GTX 1080 video cards, but GIGABYTE has thrown in the kitchen sink in this Premium Package with enthusiast oriented gaming as the focus."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Celebrates 30th Anniversary in Style, a limited edition GTX 1080

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 15, 2016 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: RGB, msi, GTX 1080, EKWB, factory overclocked

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MSI has just turned 30 and to help you join in the festivities they've released a custom GTX 1080 for purchase.  It uses an EK Predator Liquid Cooling Unit, the card is fully covered by a waterblock and a radiator and fan are already attached.  The card comes in a wooden box as a keepsake.

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The card is still two slots high and the GPU is overclocked somewhat, the boost is 1860 MHz.  In addition to the 30th Anniversary and MSI logos on the card, there are of course RGB lights which offer 16.8 million colours controlled by the MSI Gaming App.

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You can check out the full press release here, or the product page here.  Once we spot it on Amazon, Newegg and B&H we will update this post with links and prices.

 

Source: MSI

AMD Celebrates Anniversary of Radeon Technologies Group

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 14, 2016 - 09:55 PM |
Tagged: rtg, radeon technologies group, Polaris, crimson, amd radeon, amd

It has now been a year since the formation of AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group and the graphics driven division has proven itself rather successful. Looking back with hindsight, AMD's new graphics division has enjoyed several wins with new products and advancements in driver support reclaiming market share from NVIDIA and new initiatives advancing VR, HDR, and open source visual effects.

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Specifically, the Radeon Technologies Group, led by Raja Koduri, has managed to launch its new "Polaris" graphics architecture based on a 14nm FinFET process with the RX 400 series for consumers and the Radeon Pro Duo, Radeon Pro WX series, and Radeon Pro SSG (Solid State Graphics) for professionals. The company asl hit a milestone on FreeSync monitor design wins with a total of 101 displays launched to date.

Along with actual hardware, the graphics division has shaken up branding by rolling out new driver software under the Radeon Crimson Edition brand (with 21 driver releases since release) and dropping FirePro in favor of carrying over the Radeon name to create new Radeon Pro branding for its professional series of graphics cards. Driver support has also been enhanced on Linux and the AMDGPU-Pro driver works for RX 400 series.

Further, the Radeon Technologies Group launched its GPUOpen initiative back in December to foster the creation and advancement of free and open source visual effects and productivity code that developers are free to download, modify, and share.

Speaking of market share, AMD has managed to claw back some discrete GPU market share from a lowly 18% of GPUs in Q2 2015 to nearly 30% last quarter (Q2'16). That is a very respectable jump in just a year's time especially against NVIDIA's successful Pascal launches helped both by the price/performance of RX 400 as well as much needed focus on improving driver quality and timeliness of releases. 

Where does this leave AMD and its RTG? Honestly, the graphics division is in a much better place than it was last year and it is in a decent position to survive and make a difference. There are still many unknowns and just as AMD's processor division is dependent on a successful Zen release, the graphics division will need Vega to be a hit in order for AMD to get wins on the high end and compete with NVIDIA on the flagship and performance fronts. They will further need Vega to update their professional series of cards many of which are still using the company's Fiji architecture which is not as power efficient as Pascal or future Volta (the competition).

With that said, the team had solid wins since their formation and are gearing up for the future. According to the announcement, the Radeon Technologies Group will be focusing on pushing virtual reality (VR) and HDR (high dynamic range) in gaming by working with developers, improving drivers, adding to their GPUOpen software collection, and launching new products.

From the press release:

"We’re passionate about perfecting pixels and delivering an unrivaled gaming experience for our community, and uncompromising power and creative freedom for developers and content creators. And if you think our first year was exciting, wait until you see what RTG has lined up for the future."

In the near future, Raja Koduri told Venture Beat to expect VR backpacks to be on show at CES in January and to look out for mobile Polaris graphics cards. Also, Radeon Crimson Edition may be incorporating features from recently acquired startup HiAlgo who developed software to dynamically monitor gameplay and adjust the resolution to maintain maximum frame rates and prevent overheating during long game sessions. One of their techniques called HiAlgo Switch would allow gamers to switch from full to half resolution (and back again) at the press of a hot-key button so as to keep FPS high if a gamer anticipates they are about to enter a demanding area that would normally result in low frame rates. While these techniques are not very important for desktop gaming (especially the CPU/GPU limiter to prevent overheating), all three would come in handy for mobile gamers using laptops with discrete cards or especially APUs.

I am looking forward to seeing where Raja and the RTG team go from here and what they have in store for AMD graphics.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Releases 370.28 Drivers for Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 9, 2016 - 03:59 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, linux

Unfortunately, I don't tend to notice when Linux drivers get released; it's something I want to report more frequently on. Luckily, this time, I heard about NVIDIA's 370.28 graphics drivers while they were still fresh. This one opens up overclocking (and underclocking) for GeForce 10-series GPUs, although NVIDIA (of course) mentions that this is “at the user's own risk”. It also fixes a bunch of Vulkan bugs.

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Many of these fixes were in the previous, but beta-class drivers, 370.23. It, like 370.28, also includes experimental support for PRIME Synchronization. PRIME handles choosing which GPU drives a given display, which may be different from the GPU that is rendering that image. I'm not too familiar with the system, and I've heard some jokes from the Linux community over the last couple of years about its almost vaporware-like status, but I don't have any personal experience with it.

370.28 is available for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux on their website.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Launches GeForce Experience 3.0

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 7, 2016 - 08:02 PM |
Tagged: dirty pool, nvidia, geforce experience, geforce

Update (September 7th @ 9:34pm): It's been pointed out in our comments that the new GeForce Experience cannot be used without logging in. It supports NVIDIA, Google, and Facebook accounts.

It's been in Beta for a while, but NVIDIA has just officially launched their new GeForce Experience application. The release version is 3.0.5.22, so be sure to check for updates if you were in the beta and your settings panel shows an earlier version. Also, there's an “allow experimental features” checkbox right under the version number, too, also in the settings panel. It defaults to on for me, so you might want to take a look if you use GeForce Experience for anything professional (ex: Twitch streaming).

Anywho, the new version runs a lot better for me than the previous one. I used to have quite long load times, often literally in the minutes, with version 2. With version 3, it often pops up in less than a second, or maybe a couple of seconds at the worst.

Obviously, if you don't use GeForce Experience, then you don't really need to update. WHQL drivers can still be downloaded from their website (although installing drivers through GeForce Experience 3.0 has been fairly bug-free for me) and most of its other features can be obtained with other applications, like OBS Studio. That said, it's free and pretty good, so it's worth giving it a try.

Source: NVIDIA

The Strix strikes again, Asus' ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 7, 2016 - 03:41 PM |
Tagged: GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING, asus, GTX 1080, aerogel

ASUS has updated their GTX 1080 Strix with a few more features than the previous models in this family.  The aesthetics are a bit different but there is more to the card than that, hidden under the front edge of the card are two four pin fan headers which allow you to connect two case fans to the card which will react according to the heat load on the GPU.  The new DirectCU cooler has five copper heatpipes and the PCB has eight-plus-two power-phases.  There are two models, the ROG Strix-GTX1080-A8G-Gaming and the ROG Strix-GTX1080-O8G-Gaming, with core speeds of 1670/1809MHz and 1759/1898MHz respectively.  The Tech Report tested out the first of those two cards, see how it matches up to the competition here.

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"Asus' graphics cards are favorites of ours at TR, so we were excited when the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 landed in our labs. We put it to the test to see whether Asus gave Pascal a good set of wings."

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Rumor: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU-Z Screenshot

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 6, 2016 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, pascal, gtx 1050, geforce

I don't know why people insist on encoding screenshots from form-based windows in JPEG. You have very little color variation outside of text, which is typically thin and high-contrast from its surroundings. JPEG's Fourier Transform will cause rippling artifacts in the background, which should be solid color, and will almost definitely have a larger file size. Please, everyone, at least check to see how big a PNG will be before encoding it as JPEG. (In case you notice that I encoded it in JPEG too, that's because re-compressing JPEG artifacts makes PNG's file-size blow up, forcing me to actually need to use JPEG.)

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It also makes it a bit more difficult to tell whether a screenshot has been manipulated, because the hitches make everything look suspect. Regardless, BenchLife claims to have a leaked GPU-Z result for the GeForce GTX 1050. They claim that it will be using the GP107 die at 75W, although the screenshot claims neither of these. If true, this means that it will not be a further cut-down version of GP106, as seen in the two GTX 1060 parts, which would explain a little bit why they wanted both of them to remain in the 1060 level of branding. (Although why they didn't call the 6GB version the 1060 Ti is beyond me.)

What the screenshot does suggest, though, is that it will have 4GB of GDDR5 memory, on a 128-bit bus. It will have 768 shaders, the same as the GTX 950, although clocked about 15% higher (boost vs boost) and 15W lower, bringing it back into the range of PCIe bus power (75W). That doesn't mean that it will not have a six-pin external power connector, but that could be the case, like the 750 Ti.

This would give it about 2.1 TeraFLOPs of performance, which is on part with the GeForce GTX 660 from a few generations ago, as well as the RX 460, which is also 75W TDP.

Source: Benchlife