GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 3-Way and 4-Way SLI will not be enabled for games

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 08:44 PM |
Tagged: sli, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GP104, geforce, 4-way sli, 3-way sli

IMPORTANT UPDATE: After writing this story, but before publication, we went to NVIDIA for comment. As we were getting ready to publish, the company updated me with a shift in its stance on multi-GPU configurations. NVIDIA will no longer require an "enthusiast key" to enable SLI on more than two GPUs. However, NVIDIA will also only be enabling 3-Way and 4-Way SLI for a select few applications. More details are at the bottom of the story!

You'll likely recall that during our initial review of the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card, we mentioned that NVIDIA was going to be moving people towards the idea that "only 2-Way SLI will be supported" and promoted. There would still be a path for users that wanted 3 and 4 GPU configurations anyway, and it would be called the Enthusiast Key.

As it turns out, after returning from an AMD event focused on its upcoming Polaris GPUs, I happen to have amassed a total of four GeForce GTX 1080 cards.

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Courtesy of some friends at EVGA and two readers that were awesome enough to let me open up their brand new hardware for a day or so, I was able to go through the 3-Way and 4-Way SLI configuration process. Once all four were installed, and I must point out how great it is that each card only required a single 8-pin power connector, I installed the latest NVIDIA driver I had on hand, 368.19.

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Knowing about the need for the Enthusiast Key, and also knowing that I did not yet have one and that the website that was supposed to be live to enable me to get one is still not live, I thought I might have stumbled upon some magic. The driver appeared to let me enable SLI anyway. 

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Enthusiasts will note however that the green marker under the four GPUs with the "SLI" text is clearly only pointing at two of the GTX 1080s, leaving the remaining two...unused. Crap.

At this point, if you have purchased more than two GeForce GTX 1080 cards are simply out of luck and are waiting on NVIDIA to make good on it's promise to allow for 3-Way and 4-Way configurations via the Enthusiast Key. Or some other way. It's way too late now to simply say "we aren't supporting it at all." 

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While I wait...what is there for a gamer with four GeForce GTX 1080 cards to do? Well, you could run Ashes of the Singularity. It's multi-GPU mode uses MDA mode, which means the game engine itself accesses each GPU on its own, without the need for the driver to handle anything regarding GPU load balancing. Unfortunately, Ashes only supports two GPUs today.

Well...you could run an OpenCL based benchmark like LuxMark that access all the GPUs independently as well.

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I did so, and the result is an impressive score of 17,127!!

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How does that compare to some other products?

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The four GTX 1080 cards produce a score that is 2.57x the result provided by the AMD Radeon Pro Duo and 2.29x the score of SLI GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards. Nice!

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So there you go! We are just as eager to get our hands on the ability to test 3-Way and 4-Way SLI with new Pascal GPUs as some of the most extreme and dedicated enthusiasts out there are. With any luck, NVIDIA will finally figure out a way to allow it - no matter how it finally takes place.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Before going to press with this story I asked NVIDIA for comment directly: when was the community finally going to get the Enthusiast Key website to unlock 3-Way and 4-Way SLI for those people crazy enough to have purchased that many GTX 1080s? The answer was quite surprising: NVIDIA is backing away from the idea of an "Enthusiast Key" and will no longer require it for enabling 3-Way and 4-Way SLI. 

Here is the official NVIDIA statement given to PC Perspective on the subject:

With the GeForce 10-series we’re investing heavily in 2-way SLI with our new High Bandwidth bridge (which doubles the SLI bandwidth for faster, smoother gaming at ultra-high resolutions and refresh rates) and NVIDIA Game Ready Driver SLI profiles.  To ensure the best possible gaming experience on our GeForce 10-series GPUs, we’re focusing our efforts on 2-way SLI only and will continue to include 2-way SLI profiles in our Game Ready Drivers.
 
DX12 and NVIDIA VR Works SLI technology also allows developers to directly implement and control multi-GPU support within their games.  If a developer chooses to use these technologies then their game will not need SLI profiles.  Some developers may also decide to support more than 2 GPUs in their games. We continue to work with all developers creating games and VR applications that take advantage of 2 or more GPUs to make sure they’ll work great on GeForce 10-series GPUs.
 
For our overclocking community, our Game Ready Drivers will also include SLI profiles for 3- and 4-way configurations for specific OC applications only, including Fire Strike, Unigine and Catzilla.

NVIDIA clearly wants to reiterate that only 2-Way SLI will get the attention that we have come to expect from the GeForce driver dev team. As DX12 and Vulkan next-generation APIs become more prolific, the game developers will still have the ability to directly access more than two GeForce GTX 10-series GPUs, though I expect that be a very narrow window of games simply due to development costs and time.

NVIDIA will enable support for three and four card configurations in future drivers (without a key) for specific overclocking/benchmarking tools only, as a way to make sure the GeForce brand doesn't fall off the 3DMark charts. Only those specific applications will be able operate in the 3-Way and 4-Way SLI configurations that you have come to know. There are no profiles to change manually and even the rare games that might have "just worked" with three or four GPUs will not take advantage of more than two GTX 10-series cards. It's fair to say at this point that except for the benchmarking crowd, NVIDIA 3-Way and 4-Way SLI is over.

We expect the "benchmark only" mode of 3-Way and 4-Way SLI to be ready for consumers with the next "Game Ready" driver release. If you happened to get your hands on more than two GTX 1080s but aren't into benchmarking, then find those receipts and send a couple back.

So there you have it. Honestly, this is what I was expecting from NVIDIA with the initial launch of Pascal and the GeForce GTX 1080/1070 and I was surprised when I first heard about the idea of the "enthusiast key." It took a bit longer than expected, and NVIDIA will get more flak for the iterated dismissal of this very niche, but still pretty cool, technology. In the end, this won't have much impact on the company's bottom line as the quantity of users that were buying 3+ GTX GPUs for a single system was understandably small.

GeForce GTX 1080s Are Available at Newegg Canada

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 08:07 PM |
Tagged: zotac, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GP104, asus

Update @ 10:30pm, June 7th: Annnnnnnnd it's gone.

Update @ 9:45pm, June 7th: ASUS is now out-of-stock, so I crossed out the relevant links. ZOTAC is still around for now.

Update @ 8:45pm, June 7th: Turns out that it's also available on Newegg US. In fact, it's possible that both sites share from the same stock pool, at least for the US ASUS and US ZOTAC cards, given that Newegg Canada says it ships them from the US.

A couple of GeForce GTX 1080s are available at Newegg Canada at the moment. Both models, one from ASUS and one from ZOTAC, are listed at $909. This seems high, but it's actually the current US-to-Canada exchange rate from the $699 MSRP. If you were interested in the Founders Edition cards, then you have a brief moment to pick one up.

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That said, it's looking like the custom-cooled versions might be a better bet. The EVGA dual-fan GAMING SC ACX 3.0 version is listed at $824.99 CDN (~$635 USD) and, from what we've seen so far, seems to be quite a bit cooler than the Founders Edition (albeit we haven't tested sound levels yet). Those should be coming out fairly soon, and will apparently lean on the cheaper side of the Founders Edition fence.

But, if you don't care, go go go go go.

The frequency of Pascal reviews is still increasing

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: geforce, GP104, gtx 1070, nvidia, pascal

With Computex behind us it is time to catch up on all the reviews which were launched during the show, including [H]ard|OCP's review of the GTX 1070 Founders Edition.  Their testing was done using an NVIDIA provided driver, GeForce 368.19 the same one which Ryan used in his review.  They did not have a chance to delve into overclocking or utilizing the new power settings.  From their testing they concluded the GTX 1070 is a great upgrade for those using a vanilla GTX 980 or R9 390X, while the card performs faster than a R9 Fury X or GTX 980 Ti the jump is not quite enough to recommend dumping it for anything less than a GTX1080.

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"In our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card we will explore the price competitive performance and find out what kind of gameplay advantage the new GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition offers over the previous generation cards. We compare both the GTX 980 and Radeon R9 Fury GPUs to the new GTX 1070"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Motherboard by Colorful Includes GTX 1070 Graphics

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 05:14 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, motherboard, gtx 1070, GP104, colorful

So here's an interesting bit of news from Colorful, via Videocardz and LG Nilsson. Remember when on-board graphics was a pejorative? Since the GPUs that are attached to many CPUs tend to sufficiently cover everything below a discrete graphics add-in board, there is not a whole lot of mind-share for discrete, on-board GPUs. You get the occasional desktop-style device with a mobile add-in module, but that's about it.

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Image Credit: LG Nilsson (via Videocardz)

In this case, it looks like Colorful, the Chinese PC hardware manufacturer, integrated the required components from a GTX 1070 directly onto a motherboard's PCB. We've heard rumors that GP104 would be available in mobile form-factors in a few months, so it's possible that this draws from some laptop initiatives, but it's interesting to see others consider it too. As Videocardz pointed out, this is not an ATX-standard board, so it's possible that Colorful is planning on getting into (or supporting someone getting into) small form factor desktops or is building hardware for all-in-one PCs.

So what's next? A vendor like ASUS making a VRWorks Audio sound card with integrated Pascal?

Source: VideoCardz

Rumor: GP104 Might Arrive in Laptops... Soon.

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 4, 2016 - 04:28 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, pascal

Normally, when a GPU developer creates a laptop SKU, they re-use the desktop branding, add an M at the end, but release a very different, significantly slower part. This changed with the GTX 980, as NVIDIA cherry-picked the heck out of their production to find chips that could operate full-speed at a lower-than-usual TDP. With less power (and cooling) to consider, they were sent to laptop manufacturers and integrated into high-end designs.

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They still had the lower-performance 980M, though, which was confusing for potential customers. You needed to know to avoid the M, and trust the product page to correctly add the M as applicable. This is where PCGamer's scoop comes into play. Apparently, NVIDIA will stop “producing separate M versions of its desktop GPUs”. Also, they are expected to release their 10-series desktop GPUs to their laptop partners by late-summer.

Whatttttt?

Last time, NVIDIA took almost a year to bin enough GPUs for laptops. While we don't know how long they've been stockpiling GP104 GPUs, this, if the rumors are true, would just be about three months of lead-time for the desktop SKUs. Granted, Pascal is significantly more efficient than Maxwell. Maxwell tried to squeeze extra performance out of an existing fabrication node, while Pascal is a relatively smaller chip, benefiting from the industry's double-shrink in process technology. It's possible that they didn't need to drop the TDP threshold that far below what they accept for desktop.

For us desktop users, this also suggests that NVIDIA is not having too many issues with yield in general. I mean, if they were expecting GPU shortages to persist for months, you wouldn't expect that they would cut their supply further with a new product segment, particularly one that should require both decent volume and well-binned chips. This, again, might mean that we'll see desktop GPUs restock soon. Either that, or NVIDIA significantly miscalculated demand for new GPUs, and they needed to fulfill partner obligations that they made before reality struck.

Call it wishful thinking, but I don't think it's the latter.

Source: PCGamer

Pascal on a budget, GTX 1070 reviews for your perusal

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2016 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: geforce, GP104, gtx 1070, nvidia, pascal

If we missed your favourite game, synthetic benchmark or a specific competitors card in our review of the new GTX 1070 then perhaps one of the sites below might satisfy your cravings.   For instance, if it is Ashes of the Singularity or The Division which you want to see benchmarked the [H]ard|OCP has you covered.  They also had a go at overclocking, with the new software they tweaked the card's fan speed to 100%, power target at 112%, and GPU Offset overclocking at +230.  That resulted in a peak GPU speed of 2113MHz although the averaged frequency over a 30 minute gaming session was 2052MHz, they will revisit the card to overclock the memory in the near future.  Check out their full review here.

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"The second video card in the NVIDIA next generation Pascal GPU architecture is finally here, we will explore the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card. In this limited preview today we will look at performance in comparison to GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X as well as some preview overclocking."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

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

GP104 Strikes Again

It’s only been three weeks since NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards at a live streaming event in Austin, TX. But it feels like those two GPUs, one of which hasn't even been reviewed until today, have already drastically shifted the landscape of graphics, VR and PC gaming.

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Half of the “new GPU” stories are told, with AMD due to follow up soon with Polaris, but it was clear to anyone watching the enthusiast segment with a hint of history that a line was drawn in the sand that day. There is THEN, and there is NOW. Today’s detailed review of the GeForce GTX 1070 completes NVIDIA’s first wave of NOW products, following closely behind the GeForce GTX 1080.

Interestingly, and in a move that is very uncharacteristic of NVIDIA, detailed specifications of the GeForce GTX 1070 were released on GeForce.com well before today’s reviews. With information on the CUDA core count, clock speeds, and memory bandwidth it was possible to get a solid sense of where the GTX 1070 performed; and I imagine that many of you already did the napkin math to figure that out. There is no more guessing though - reviews and testing are all done, and I think you'll find that the GTX 1070 is as exciting, if not more so, than the GTX 1080 due to the performance and pricing combination that it provides.

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading our review of the GeForce GTX  1070 8GB Founders Edition!!

Manufacturer: NVIDIA

First, Some Background

 
TL;DR:
NVIDIA's Rumored GP102
 
Based on two rumors, NVIDIA seems to be planning a new GPU, called GP102, that sits between GP100 and GP104. This changes how their product stack flowed since Fermi and Kepler. GP102's performance, both single-precision and double-precision, will likely signal NVIDIA's product plans going forward.
  • - GP100's ideal 1 : 2 : 4 FP64 : FP32 : FP16 ratio is inefficient for gaming
  • - GP102 either extends GP104's gaming lead or bridges GP104 and GP100
  • - If GP102 is a bigger GP104, the future is unclear for smaller GPGPU devs
    • This is, unless GP100 can be significantly up-clocked for gaming.
  • - If GP102 matches (or outperforms) GP100 in gaming, and has better than 1 : 32 double-precision performance, then GP100 would be the first time that NVIDIA designed an enterprise-only, high-end GPU.
 

 

When GP100 was announced, Josh and I were discussing, internally, how it would make sense in the gaming industry. Recently, an article on WCCFTech cited anonymous sources, which should always be taken with a dash of salt, that claimed NVIDIA was planning a second architecture, GP102, between GP104 and GP100. As I was writing this editorial about it, relating it to our own speculation about the physics of Pascal, VideoCardz claims to have been contacted by the developers of AIDA64, seemingly on-the-record, also citing a GP102 design.

I will retell chunks of the rumor, but also add my opinion to it.

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In the last few generations, each architecture had a flagship chip that was released in both gaming and professional SKUs. Neither audience had access to a chip that was larger than the other's largest of that generation. Clock rates and disabled portions varied by specific product, with gaming usually getting the more aggressive performance for slightly better benchmarks. Fermi had GF100/GF110, Kepler had GK110/GK210, and Maxwell had GM200. Each of these were available in Tesla, Quadro, and GeForce cards, especially Titans.

Maxwell was interesting, though. NVIDIA was unable to leave 28nm, which Kepler launched on, so they created a second architecture at that node. To increase performance without having access to more feature density, you need to make your designs bigger, more optimized, or more simple. GM200 was giant and optimized, but, to get the performance levels it achieved, also needed to be more simple. Something needed to go, and double-precision (FP64) performance was the big omission. NVIDIA was upfront about it at the Titan X launch, and told their GPU compute customers to keep purchasing Kepler if they valued FP64.

Fast-forward to Pascal.

Podcast #400 - Talking GTX 1080 Performance, GTX 1070 specs, AMD Polaris leaks and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2016 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: video, radeon, polaris 11, polaris 10, Polaris, podcast, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx, geforce, arm, amd, 10nm

PC Perspective Podcast #400 - 05/19/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the GTX 1080 performance and features, official specifications of the GTX 1070, new Polaris specification rumors, ARM's 10nm chip test and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

NVIDIA Releases Full Specifications for GTX 1070

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 18, 2016 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, pascal, gtx 1070, 1070, gtx, GTX 1080, 16nm FF+, TSMC, Founder's Edition

Several weeks ago when NVIDIA announced the new GTX 1000 series of products, we were given a quick glimpse of the GTX 1070.  This upper-midrange card is to carry a $379 price tag in retail form while the "Founder's Edition" will hit the $449 mark.  Today NVIDIA released the full specifications of this card on their website.

The interest of the GTX 1070 is incredibly great because of the potential performance of this card vs. the previous generation.  Price is also a big consideration here as it is far easier to raise $370 than it is to make the jump to GTX 1080 and shell out $599 once non-Founder's Edition cards are released.  The GTX 1070 has all of the same features as the GTX 1080, but it takes a hit when it comes to clockspeed and shader units.

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The GTX 1070 is a Pascal based part that is fabricated on TSMC's 16nm FF+ node.  It shares the same overall transistor count of the GTX 1080, but it is partially disabled.  The GTX 1070 contains 1920 CUDA cores as compared to the 2560 cores of the 1080.  Essentially one full GPC is disabled to reach that number.  The clockspeeds take a hit as well compared to the full GTX 1080.  The base clock for the 1070 is still an impressive 1506 MHz and boost reaches 1683 MHz.  This combination of shader counts and clockspeed makes this probably a little bit faster than the older GTX 980 ti.  The rated TDP for the card is 150 watts with a single 8 pin PCI-E power connector.  This means that there should be some decent headroom when it comes to overclocking this card.  Due to binning and yields, we may not see 2+ GHz overclocks with these cards, especially if NVIDIA cut down the power delivery system as compared to the GTX 1080.  Time will tell on that one.

The memory technology that NVIDIA is using for this card is not the cutting edge GDDR5x or HBM, but rather the tried and true GDDR5.  8 GB of this memory sits on a 256 bit bus, but it is running at a very, very fast 8 gbps.  This gives overall bandwidth in the 256 GB/sec region.  When we combine this figure with the memory compression techniques implemented with the Pascal architecture we can see that the GTX 1070 will not be bandwidth starved.  We have no information if this generation of products will mirror what we saw with the previous generation GTX 970 in terms of disabled memory controllers and the 3.5 GB/500 MB memory split due to that unique memory subsystem.

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Beyond those things, the GTX 1070 is identical to the GTX 1080 in terms of DirectX features, display specifications, decoding support, double bandwidth SLI, etc.  There is an obvious amount of excitement for this card considering its potential performance and price point.  These supposedly will be available in the Founder's Edition release on June 10 for the $449 MSRP.  I know many people are considering using these cards in SLI to deliver performance for half the price of last year's GTX 980ti.  From all indications, these cards will be a signficant upgrade for anyone using GTX 970s in SLI.  With the greater access to monitors that hit 4K as well as Surround Gaming, this could be a solid purchase for anyone looking to step up their game in these scenarios.

Source: NVIDIA