The Dirty Laggard
It may seem odd, but sometimes reviewers are some of the last folks to implement new technology. This has been the case for myself many a time. Yes, we get some of the latest and greatest components, but often we review them and then keep them on the shelf for comparative purposes, all the while our personal systems run last generation parts that we will not need to re-integrate into a test rig ever again. Or in other cases, big money parts, like the one 30” 2560x1600 LCD that I own, are always being utilized on the testbed and never actually being used for things like browsing, gaming, or other personal activities. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a “woe-is-me” rant about the hardships of being a reviewer, but rather just an interesting side effect not often attributed to folks who do this type of work. Yes, we get the latest to play with and review, but we don’t often actually use these new parts in our everyday lives.
One of the technologies that I had only ever seen at trade shows is that of Eyefinity. It was released back in the Fall of 2009, and really gained some momentum in 2010. Initially it was incompatible with Crossfire technology, which limited it to a great degree. A single HD 5970 card could push 3 x 1920x1080 monitors in most games, but usually only with details turned down and no AA enabled. Once AMD worked a bit more on the drivers were we able to see Crossfire setups working in Eyefinity, which allowed users to play games at higher fidelity with the other little niceties enabled. The release of the HD 6900 series of cards also proved to be a boon to Eyefinity, as these new chips had much better scaling in Crossfire performance, plus were also significantly faster than the earlier HD 5800 series at those price points.
Continue on to the rest of the story for more on my experiences with AMD Eyefinity.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | July 13, 2011 - 02:13 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: llano, dual graphics, crossfire, APU, amd, a8-3850, 3850
Last week we posted a short video about the performance of AMD's Llano core A-series of APUs for gaming and the response was so positive that we have decided to continue on with some other short looks at features and technologies with the processor. For this video we decided to investigate the advantages and performance of the Dual Graphics technology - the AMD APU's ability to combine the performance of a discrete GPU with the Radeon HD 6550D graphics integrated on the A8-3850 APU.
For this test we set our A8-3850 budget gaming rig to the default clock speeds and settings and used an AMD Radeon HD 6570 1GB as our discrete card of choice. With a price hovering around $70, the HD 6570 would be a modest purchase for a user that wants to add some graphical performance to their low-cost system but doesn't stretch into the market of the enthusiast.
The test parameters were simple: we knew the GPU on the Radeon HD 6570 was a bit better than that of the A8-3850 APU so we compared performance of the discrete graphics card ALONE to the performance of the system when enabling CrossFire, aka Dual Graphics technology. The results are pretty impressive:
You may notice that these percentages of scaling are higher than those we found in our first article about Llano on launch day. The reasoning is that we used the Radeon HD 6670 there and found that while compatible by AMD's directives, the HD 6670 is overpowering the HD 6550D GPU on the APU and the performance delta it provides is smaller by comparison.
So, just as we said with our APU overclocking video, while adding in a discrete card like the HD 6570 won't turn your PC into a $300 graphics card centered gaming machine it will definitely help performance by worthwhile amounts without anyone feeling like they are wasting the silicon on the A8-3850.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 03:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: quad sli, quad crossfire, sli, crossfire, nvidia, amd
With SLI and CrossFire we all hoped to see direct scaling so that a quad GPU setup would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4x better than a single GPU. That has proven to be incorrect, not only is the scaling nowhere near that it has been discovered that in some cases going beyond 2 GPUs can actually reduce performance.
As the hardware and drivers evolve, it is worth revisiting the scaling performance of both AMD and NVIDIA which is why [H]ard|OCP grabbed two GeForce GTX 590s and two AMD Radeon HD 6990s, both dual GPU cards. In three of the five games tested they ran into at least one issue, a strike right off the bat. Read on to see how they rate the value of the two manufacturers based on the performance they saw once they'd resolved the problems.
"How does NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 SLI Quad-GPU compare to AMD's Radeon HD 6990 CrossFireX Quad-GPU? We will find out if these "if-money-didn't-matter dream video card setups" will deliver the gameplay experience we all expect."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Asus ENGTX460 GTX 460 Voltage Tweak Review @ Tweaknews
- MSI GeForce GTX 580 Lightning @ OCAU
- Gigabyte GTX 560 (GV-N56GOC-1GI) @ Pro-Clockers
- ASUS GeForce GTX 560 1GB DirectCU II TOP @ TweakTown
- MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- Zotac Geforce GTX 550 TI @ Rbmods
- MSI GeForce GTX 560 Twin Frozr II Review @ Techgage
- NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table @ Hardware Secrets
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ Tech ARP
- AMD FirePro V7900 @ Phoronix
- AMD FirePro V5900 @ Phoronix
- ASUS Radeon HD 6870 Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 1GB Vapor-X @ TweakTown
- VTX3D Radeon HD 6790 1GB @ OCAU
- HIS Radeon HD 6790 IceQ X Turbo 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- PowerColor PCS+ AX6950 Vortex II @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 6, 2011 - 01:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tri-fire, crossfire, sli, triple, sandybridge
Not too long ago [H]ard|OCP examined the price to performance ratio between a triple SLI GTX580 system and a Tri-Fire HD6990 and HD6970 and discovered that as far as value goes, NVIDIA could not touch AMD. A reader of theirs inquired if it was the aging Core i7-920 that was holding the cards back even with the overclock of 3.6GHz. A SandyBridge system with a Core i7-2600K and an ASUS board with the NF200 bridge chip was used to revisit the performance of the two vendors GPUs. The result; we can hardly wait for the Z68 boards to come out!
"We have re-tested performance between GTX 580 3-Way SLI and Radeon HD 6990+6970 Tri-Fire with a brand new Sandy Bridge 4.8GHz system. Our readers wanted to know if the CPU speed would improve performance and open up the potential of this triple-GPU performance beasts. To put it succinctly, they were right. The results completely turn the tables upside down and then some."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Triple Monitor Gaming: GeForce GTX 590 vs. Radeon HD 6990 @ TechSpot
- Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 and HD 5830 1GB Xtreme @ Tweaktown
- XFX HD Radeon 6790 Review @ OCC
- PowerColor HD 6950 Vortex II 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon 6870 IceQX @ XSReviews
- HIS Radeon HD 6790 1GB IceQ X Turbo @ Tweaktown
- AMD Radeon HD 6670 1GB and HD 6570 512MB GDDR5 @ Hi Tech Legion
- AMD Radeon 6990 4GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II/OC, MSI R6870 Hawk, MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II @ iXBT Labs
- May 2011: Gallium3D vs. Classic Mesa vs. Catalyst @ Phoronix
- How to overclock a graphics card @ eTeknix
- i3DSpeed, April 2011 @ iXBT Labs
- MSI GTX560-Ti OC SLI @ OC3D
- Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! Edition 1GB Video Card Review @ ThinkComputers
- GIGABYTE GTX 580 Super Overclock @ OCAU