Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

Overview

With the launch of the GeForce RTX 2070, NVIDIA seems to have applied some pressure to their partners to get SKUs that actually hit the advertised "starting at $499" price. Compared to the $599 Founders Edition RTX 2070, these lower cost options have the potential to bring significantly more value to the consumer, especially taken into account the relative performance levels of the RTX 2070 to the GTX 1080 we observed in our initial review.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the EVGA RTX 2070 Black Edition, but it's not the only card to hit the $499 price range that we've received.

Today, we are taking a look at MSI's low-cost RTX 2070 offering, the MSI RTX 2070 Armor.

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MSI RTX 2070 ARMOR 8G
Base Clock Speed 1410 MHz
Boost Clock Speed 1620 MHz
Memory Clock Speed 14000 MHz GDDR6
Outputs DisplayPort x 3(v1.4) / HDMI 2.0b x 1 / USB Type-C x1 (VirtualLink) / 
Dimensions

12.1 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches (309 x 155 x 50 mm)

Price $499.99

Click here to continue reading our review of the MSI RTX 2070 Armor!

Meet the highly anticipated RTX 2070!

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 16, 2018 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: tu106, TU104, RTX 2080, RTX 2070, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, msi, Gaming Z

Some of the RTX 2070 reviews have arrived though you can expect a slew more TU106 based GPU models arriving in the near future.  The MSRP of this card is similar to the GTX 1080, so the burning question is; can it match the performance and not just mimic a slower card with the addition of Tensor Cores? 

Start out with Ken's review, and then head off to [H]ard|OCP to check out the RTX 2070 GAMING Z from MSI.  Does it make sense to pick up the RTX 2070 right now, or grab a highly overclocked GTX 1080?  Only one way to find out

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"We have an exclusive first look at performance of the new MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z video cards sporting the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU. We will be comparing performance to a MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X and ASUS ROG STRIX Vega 64 OC video cards in eight games at 1440p and 4K."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

TU106 joins the party

In general, the launch of RTX 20-series GPUs from NVIDIA in the form of the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti has been a bit of a mixed bag.

While these new products did give us the fastest gaming GPU available, the RTX 2080 Ti, they are also some of the most expensive videos cards ever to launch. With a value proposition that is partially tied to the adoption of new hardware features into games, the reception of these new RTX cards has been rocky.

To say this puts a bit of pressure on the RTX 2070 launch would be an apt assessment. The community wants to see a reason to get excited for new graphics cards, without having to wait for applications to take advantage of the new hardware features like Tensor and RT cores. Conversely, NVIDIA would surely love to see an RTX launch with a bit more praise from the press and community than their previous release has garnered.

The wait is no longer, today we are taking a look at the RTX 2070, the last of the RTX-series graphics cards announced by NVIDIA back in August.

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  RTX 2080 Ti GTX 1080 Ti RTX 2080  RTX 2070 GTX 1080 GTX 1070 RX Vega 64 (Air)
GPU TU102 GP102 TU104 TU106 GP104 GP104 Vega 64
GPU Cores 4352 3584 2944 2304 2560 1920 4096
Base Clock 1350 MHz 1408 MHz 1515 MHz 1410  MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz 1247 MHz
Boost Clock 1545 MHz/
1635 MHz (FE)
1582 MHz 1710 MHz/
1800 MHz (FE)
1620 MHz/ 1710 MHz (FE) 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1546 MHz
Texture Units 272 224 184 144 160 120 256
ROP Units 88 88 64 64 64 64 64
Tensor Cores 544 -- 368 288 -- -- --
Ray Tracing Speed 10 GRays/s -- 8 GRays/s 6 GRays/s -- -- --
Memory 11GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 14000 MHz  11000 MHz 14000 MHz  14000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 1890 MHz
Memory Interface 352-bit G6 352-bit G5X 256-bit G6 256-bit G6 256-bit G5X 256-bit G5 2048-bit HBM2
Memory Bandwidth 616GB/s 484 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 484 GB/s
TDP 250 W /
260 W (FE)
250 W 215W /
225W (FE)
175 W / 185W (FE) 180 W 150 W 292 W
Peak Compute (FP32) 13.4 TFLOPS / 14.2 TFLOP (FE) 10.6 TFLOPS 10 TFLOPS / 10.6 TFLOPS (FE) 7.5 TFLOPS / 7.9 TFLOPS (FE) 8.2 TFLOPS 6.5 TFLOPS 13.7 TFLOPS
Transistor Count 18.6 B 12.0 B 13.6 B 10.8 B 7.2 B 7.2B 12.5 B
Process Tech 12nm 16nm 12nm 12nm 16nm 16nm 14nm
MSRP (current) $1200 (FE)/
$1000
$699 $800 (FE)/
$700
$599 (FE)/ $499 $549 $379 $499

Click here to continue reading our review of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Your Mileage May Vary

One of the most interesting things going around in the computer hardware communities this past weekend was the revelation from a user named bryf50 on Reddit that they somehow had gotten his FreeSync display working with his NVIDIA GeForce GPU. 

For those of you that might not be familiar with the particular ins-and-outs of these variable refresh technologies, getting FreeSync displays to work on NVIDIA GPUs is potentially a very big deal.

While NVIDIA GPUs support the NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh rate standard, they are not compatible with Adaptive Sync (the technology on which FreeSync is based) displays. Despite Adaptive Sync being an open standard, and an optional extension to the DisplayPort specification, NVIDIA so far has chosen not to support these displays.

However, this provides some major downsides to consumers looking to purchase displays and graphics cards. Due to the lack of interoperability, consumers can get locked into a GPU vendor if they want to continue to use the variable refresh functionality of their display. Plus, Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync monitors, in general, seem to be significantly more inexpensive for similar specifications.

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Click here to continue reading our exploration into FreeSync support on NVIDIA GPUs!

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Cards Finally Return to Stock at MSRP

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 9, 2018 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: video card, pricing, msrp, mining, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gtx, graphics, gpu, gaming, crypto

The wait for in-stock NVIDIA graphics cards without inflated price tags seems to be over. Yes, in the wake of months of crypto-fueled disappointment for gamers the much anticipated, long-awaited return of graphics cards at (gasp) MSRP prices is at hand. NVIDIA has now listed most of their GTX lineup as in-stock (with a limit of 2) at normal MSRPs, with the only exception being the GTX 1080 Ti (still out of stock). The lead time from NVIDIA is one week, but worth it for those interested in the lower prices and 'Founders Edition' coolers.

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Many other GTX 10 Series options are to be found online at near-MSRP pricing, though as before many of the aftermarket designs command a premium, with factory overclocks and proprietary cooler designs to help justify the added cost. Even Amazon - previously home to some of the most outrageous price-gouging from third-party sellers in months past - has cards at list pricing, which seems to solidify a return to GPU normalcy.

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The GTX 1080 inches closer to standard pricing once again on Amazon

Some of the current offers include:

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G - $549.99 @ Amazon.com

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 - $469.99 @ Amazon.com

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING 6GB - $299.99 @ Newegg.com

GTX 1070 cards continue to have the highest premium outside of NVIDIA's store, with the lowest current pricing on Newegg or Amazon at $469.99. Still, the overall return to near-MSRP pricing around the web is good news for gamers who have been forced to play second (or third) fiddle to cryptomining "entrepreneurs" for several months now; a disturbing era in which pre-built gaming systems from Alienware and others actually presented a better value than DIY builds.

Source: NVIDIA

Airtop2 Inferno: Compact Fanless Gaming PC Featuring a Core i7-7700K and GTX 1080

Subject: Systems | February 14, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, silent, SFF, nvidia, mini PC, Intel, Inferno, GTX 1080, gaming, fanless, core i7 7700k, compulab, Airtop2

Compulab, maker of mini systems such as the fitlet and Airtop is bringing the compact, fanless concept to a powerful gaming system - with no less than an Intel Core i7-7700K and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The catch? Is is not yet available, pending an upcoming Kickstarter campaign beginning February 24.

inferno_teaser.jpg

The teaser image of the upcoming Airtop2 Inferno fanless gaming system

The Airtop2 is already available for purchase in a fanless workstation version, built-to-order with up to an Intel Xeon E3-1275 v6 and NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (starting at $2575 for that configuration before adding memory/storage), and this new "Inferno" version of the Airtop2 promises to be very interesting to silent computing enthusiasts.

Inferno_Front_Back.png

Front and rear views of the Inferno system

A fanless gaming system with high-end components is only going to be as effective as its cooling system, and here Compulab has a lot of experience on the industrial/embedded side of things.

Airtop2-exploded-1.jpg

Exploded view of the standard Airtop2 design (no images of the Airtop2 Inferno interior available yet)

Compulab lists these specs for the Airtop2 Inferno (along with the teaser, "and a little more..."):

  • Unlocked Intel Core-i7 7700K
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • Up to 64 GB DDR4 2400 RAM
  • 2x NVMe + 4x 2.5″ SSD / HDD
  • 2x USB 3.1 + 7x USB 3.0 | dual LAN | front (and back) audio

Compulab has also provided some benchmark results to demonstrate how effective their fanless implementation of these components is, with results using 3DMark and Unigine Heaven available on the Inferno product page.

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The company has set up a Q&A page for the Airtop2 Inferno, but pricing/availability info will probably have to wait until February 24th when the Kickstarter campaign is active.

Source: Compulab

Acer's new G-SYNC Predator gaming laptop will cost you

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2018 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: acer, predator triton 700, gaming laptop, GTX 1080, 1080p, g-sync, i7-7700hq

The top end model which Kitguru reviewed will cost you well over $3000 but it is an impressive machine.  Part of the cost comes from the G-SYNC IPS display, capable of up to 120Hz as well as the GTX 1080 Max-Q which powers it.  The laptop features a mechanical keyboard and all of the I/O features you would expect, including a Type-C Thunderbolt port.  The touchpad design may not be a strong point however, it is located above the keyboard, directly below the screen which may not be comfortable for frequent use.  It is made of glass and reveals a fan and the GPU heatpipes, a nice visual look with a drawback; after extended usage that glass is hot!

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"With its Predator Triton 700, Acer will be hoping that it has ticked all the boxes when it comes to building a portable gaming powerhouse."

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Source: Kitguru

CES 2018: ASUS ROG Strix GL12 Gaming Desktop Announced

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: CES, ROG, nvidia, Intel, GTX 1080, geforce, coffee lake, asus, CES 2018

ASUS has just announced a high-end gaming desktop: the ROG Strix GL12. It looks like it will be a standard mid-tower form factor with a highly stylized design and, of course, RGB lights. They will pair with Aura Sync, so you make your case match your keyboard and pretty much whatever else you have from ASUS with RGB lights in it.

asus-2017-rog-desktop-ces.jpg

The main selling feature of the system, however, is the factory-overclocked Coffee Lake CPU – up to six cores at 4.8 GHz. You can also pair this with an NVIDIA GTX 1080. At first, I found it odd that they didn’t go up to the GTX 1080 Ti given the rest of the system, although I guess they would need to produce stock ahead of time, and it would be risky to have too many enthusiast parts sitting in a warehouse. They don’t state the maximum configurable RAM, but Coffee Lake maxes out at 64 GB so we know that it won’t be more than that. It all depends on whether ASUS wants to make a 32 GB or a 64 GB SKU.

The ASUS ROG Strix GL12 gaming desktop will launch in April. Pricing TBA.

Source: ASUS

Forza Motorsport 7 Performance

The first full Forza Motorsport title available for the PC, Forza Motorsport 7 on Windows 10 launched simultaneously with the Xbox version earlier this month. With native 4K assets, HDR support, and new visual features like fully dynamic weather, this title is an excellent showcase of what modern PC hardware can do.

forza7-screen.png

Now that both AMD and NVIDIA have released drivers optimized for Forza 7, we've taken an opportunity to measure performance across an array of different GPUs. After some significant performance mishaps with last year's Forza Horizon 3 at launch on PC, we are excited to see if Forza Motorsport 7 brings any much-needed improvements. 

For this testing, we used our standard GPU testbed, including an 8-core Haswell-E processor and plenty of memory and storage.

  PC Perspective GPU Testbed
Processor Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E
Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme X99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR4-3200
Storage OCZ Agility 4 256GB (OS)
Adata SP610 500GB (games)
Power Supply Corsair AX1500i 1500 watt
OS Windows 10 x64 
Drivers AMD: 17.10.1 (Beta)
NVIDIA: 387.92

As with a lot of modern console-first titles, Forza 7 defaults to "Dynamic" image quality settings. This means that the game engine is supposed to find the best image settings for your hardware automatically, and dynamically adjust them so that you hit a target frame rate (adjustable between 30 and 60fps) no matter what is going on in the current scene that is being rendered.

While this is a good strategy for consoles, and even for casual PC gamers, it poses a problem for us trying to measure equivalent performance across GPUs. Luckily the developers of Forza Motorsport 7, Turn 10 Studios, still let you disable the dynamic control and configure the image quality settings as you desire.

One quirk however though is that in order for V-Sync to be disabled, the rendering resolution within the game must match the native resolution of your monitor. This means that if you are running 2560x1440 on your 4K monitor, you must first set the resolution within windows to 2560x1440 in order to run the game in V-Sync off mode.

forza7-settings.png

We did our testing with an array of three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4K) at maximum image quality settings. We tested both AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards in similar price and performance segments. The built-in benchmark mode for this game was used, which does feature some variance due to dynamic weather patterns. However, our testing within the full game matched the results of the benchmark mode closely, so we used it for our final results.

forza7-avgfps.png

Right off the bat, I have been impressed at how well optimized Forza Motorsport 7 seems to be on the PC. Compared to the unoptimized disaster that was Forza Horizon 3 when it launched on PC last year, it's clear that Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft have come a long way.

Even gamers looking to play on a 4K display at 60Hz can seemingly get away with the cheaper, and more mainstream GPUs such as the RX 580 or the GTX 1060 with acceptable performance in most scenarios.

Games on high-refresh-rate displays don't appear to have the same luxury. If you want to game at a resolution such as 2560x1440 at a full 144Hz, neither the RX Vega 64 or GTX 1080 will do this with maximum image quality settings. Although these GPUs appear to be in the margin where you could turn down a few settings to achieve your full refresh rate.

For some reason, the RX Vega cards didn't seem to show any scaling in performance when moving from 2560x1440 to 1920x1080, unlike the Polaris-based RX 580 and the NVIDIA options. We aren't quite sure of the cause of this and have reached out to AMD for clarification.

As far as frame times are concerned, we also gathered some data with our Frame Rating capture analysis system

Forza7_2560x1440_PLOT.png

Forza7_2560x1440_STUT.png

Taking a look at the first chart, we can see while the GTX 1080 frame times are extremely consistent, the RX Vega 64 shows some additional variance.

However, the frame time variance chart shows that over 95% of the frame times of the RX Vega 64 come in at under 2ms of variance, which will still provide a smooth gameplay experience in most scenarios. This matches with our experience while playing on both AMD and NVIDIA hardware where we saw no major issues with gameplay smoothness.

forza7-screen2.png

Forza Motorsport 7 seems to be a great addition to the PC gaming world (if you don't mind using the Microsoft store exclusively) and will run great on a wide array of hardware. Whether or not you have a NVIDIA or AMD GPU, you should be able to enjoy this fantastic racing simulator. 

How much does the driver matter when playing Forza 7?

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2017 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: forza motorsport 7, amd, nvidia, vega 64, vega 56, gtx 1070, GTX 1080, gtx 1080 ti, gaming

[H]ard|OCP recently used Forza 7 in their GPU benchmarks and discovered that AMD's Vega 64 outperformed the GTX 1080 by a noticeable margin.  NVIDIA responded by releasing two new drivers in quick succession, claiming performance improvements of up to 25% in this title, which prompted [H] to revisit there results with the newest drivers from both companies.  They tested at both 1440p and at 4K and saw changes, though perhaps not as great as NVIDIA first announced.  Take a look at the review here and consider the question they pose in their conclusions.

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"Forza Motorsport 7 gaming performance has changed, video cards stack up differently when compared. We take Forza Motorsport 7 and apply new NVIDIA GeForce 387.92 and AMD Crimson ReLive 17.10.1 drivers to find out how these compare, what performance differences there are, and if AMD Radeon RX Vega is still king in this game."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP