Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2015 - 10:21 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: usb 3.1, sli, piledriver, msi, gaming, crossfire, amd, am3+, 990FXA-Gaming, 990fx
Some months ago MSI announced that they are releasing a slew of USB 3.1 compliant parts. What was surprising was the mention of a brand new AM3+ board based on the now nearly geriatric AMD 990FX chipset. The 990FX has had quite a lifespan with PCI-E 2.0 support and the accompanying SB950 southbridge with USB 2.0 and SATA6G features.
It looks as if MSI is doing a clean sheet design for the 990FXA-Gaming. This looks to be a class leading product with plenty of features. Not only does it have the USB 3.1 support, but it also implements the enhanced audio design that we have seen on other top end boards from MSI. It also embraces the Killer ethernet software suite (utilizing Qualcomm's Atheros Gig-E chip).
The power delivery system looks to be a full 8+2 unit, so it can officially handle the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series of CPUs. It supports both SLI and CrossFire. The cooling on the board looks to be top notch as well, with a heatpipe stretching from the Southbridge, through the Northbridge, and finally to the VRMs.
We expect these boards to be available sometime around the middle of this month. We should also be receiving a sample for testing around then. It is nice to see new support for AMD's FX CPUs, and this should be a cost effective member of the club. Though AM3+ is a dead end in terms of socket infrastructure, there is still a lot of value in AMD's FX CPU line.
There is no word on pricing at this time, but I would not be surprised to see it hit the $149 mark. It does not seem as decked out as the 990FXA-GD80 which is priced around $179. With the robust featureset that they do implement, it does look to be a value if it can hit that aggressive price point.
Subject: Systems | March 13, 2015 - 06:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sli, quiet computing
Silent PC Review spends a lot of effort choosing components which offer a great performance but do not create a lot of noise and their latest sytem is a perfect example. Even with a pair of air cooled GTX 970's and an i5-4690K this system only hit 23dBA under load, quiet enough for SPCR to confirm their 970's suffer from coil whine. The sound came primarily from the GPUs as you would expect so it is possible that finding a very quiet radiator and watercooling them might reduce the sound produced even further. It just goes to show how much quieter air cooling has become from the days of screaming 40mm Deltas.
"For our 8th Quiet Gaming PC Build Guide, we take on the challenge of two high-end video cards in an SLI configuration featuring a pair of Zotac GTX 970s in the SilverStone Fortress FT05 case."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Chillblast Fusion Barbarian Gaming PC @ Kitguru
- ECS Liva SOC Mini-PC System @ eTeknix
- TR's February 2015 System Guide
Battlefield 4 Results
At the end of my first Frame Rating evaluation of the GTX 970 after the discovery of the memory architecture issue, I proposed the idea that SLI testing would need to be done to come to a more concrete conclusion on the entire debate. It seems that our readers and the community at large agreed with us in this instance, repeatedly asking for those results in the comments of the story. After spending the better part of a full day running and re-running SLI results on a pair of GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards, we have the answers you're looking for.
Today's story is going to be short on details and long on data, so if you want the full back story on what is going on why we are taking a specific look at the GTX 970 in this capacity, read here:
- Part 1: NVIDIA issues initial statement
- Part 2: Full GTX 970 memory architecture disclosed
- Part 3: Frame Rating: GTX 970 vs GTX 980
- Part 4: Frame Rating: GTX 970 SLI vs GTX 980 SLI (what you are reading now)
Okay, are we good now? Let's dive into the first set of results in Battlefield 4.
Battlefield 4 Results
Just as I did with the first GTX 970 performance testing article, I tested Battlefield 4 at 3840x2160 (4K) and utilized the game's ability to linearly scale resolution to help me increase GPU memory allocation. In the game settings you can change that scaling option by a percentage: I went from 110% to 150% in 10% increments, increasing the load on the GPU with each step.
Memory allocation between the two SLI configurations was similar, but not as perfectly aligned with each other as we saw with our single GPU testing.
In a couple of cases, at 120% and 130% scaling, the GTX 970 cards in SLI are actually each using more memory than the GTX 980 cards. That difference is only ~100MB but that delta was not present at all in the single GPU testing.
Subject: Mobile | January 29, 2015 - 03:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cherry, sli, gaming notebook, GTX 980M
How can you not be saving every penny to buy a MSI GT80 Titan? With an i7 4980HQ running at 2.8 - 4GHz, 32GB of DDR3, four 256GB SSDs in RAID 0 and a 1TB HDD for long term storage along with a pair of GTX 980M's powering a 467mm 1080p display. MSI did put together a nice package for those who don't mind paying the price, you also get a mouse, gel wrist pad, gold W, A, S, D and ESC keys and even a little plush dragon in addition to the laptop. Check out the full review of the most powerful gaming laptop on the planet over at Kitguru but keep in mind, if you have to ask the price then you can't afford it.
"Few products have generated as much hype and interest as the MSI GT80 Titan Gaming laptop. Kitguru was the first major publication to cover the new laptop when we flew over to Taipei last November. LEO then got his hands on an early pre retail sample for KITGURU TV back in December."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- MSI GT80 Titan SLI @ HardwareHeaven
- Asus ROG G751JY-T7051H @ eTeknix
- ASUS ZenFone 6 Smartphone Review @ Hardware Secrets
- HIS Multi-View USB Portable Docking Station Review @ Madshrimps
- Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen. Smartphone Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Amazon Fire HD 7 (2014) Tablet Review @ Techgage
- Apple iPad Air 2 16GB Tablet Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 04:02 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: titan, sli, msi, GTX 980M, gt80, cherry mx brown, ces 2015, CES
Back in late October MSI announced the GT80 Titan gaming laptop that included an impressive array of features, the most interesting of which was the full-size Cherry MX Brown keyboard embedded in the chassis. Seriously.
At CES this week we got hands on with the beast and I have to say I came away pretty impressed. Hardware powering the system includes an Intel Core i7-4980HQ processor, a pair of GTX 980M GPUs running in SLI, 24GB of DDR3 system memory, up to quad M.2 SSDs in RAID-0, Killer wired and wireless networking and more. All of that hardware sits under the top portion of the bottom of the notebook - the LED backlit Cherry MX Steel Series keyboard takes up the entire depth of the GT80 in the bottom portion.
Despite its appearance, the GT80 Titan is similar in size to some of the other 17/18-in Alienware notebooks currently selling, but they obviously don't include a Cherry keyboard will full travel switches. MSI also claims that access to the system memory, M.2 storage, 2.5-in HDD location and optical drive through the top panel allows for reasonable upgrade options down the road. Even the two MXM modules for the GTX 980M cards can be changed through the bottom of the GT80. (Mobile GPU upgrades have always been problematic.)
The GT80 Titan will be available next week and will start at $3299 with a $3499 option including the faster Intel processor. That is an incredibly high price for a gaming machine that is less "portable" than "transportable" but it would be hard to get more gaming horsepower in a smaller package anywhere else. We are looking forward to a review unit showing up shortly after our return! Stay tuned!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 20, 2014 - 07:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sli, NVIDA, GTX 970
The contestants are lined up in [H]ard|OCP's test bench, at around $700 you have a pair of GTX 970's and in the same weight class are a pair of R9 290X cards, next weighing in at just under $550 are two R9 290s, and rounding out the completion are a pair of GTX 780's who punch somewhere between $800 to $1000 depending on when you look. The cards are tested for their ability to perform on a 4K stage as well as in the larger 5760x1200 multi-monitor event. After a long and gruelling battle the extra work the 290X put into trimming its self down and fitting into a lower weight class has proven to be well worth the effort as they managed to show up the 970's in every performance category although certainly not in power efficiency. Any of these pairings will be powerful but none can match a pair of GTX 980's who are also in a price class all by themselves.
"We take 2-Way NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 SLI for a spin and compare it to R9 290X CF, R9 290 CF, GTX 780 SLI at 4K resolution as well as NV Surround on a triple-display setup. If you want to see how all these video cards compare in these different display configurations we've got just the thing. Find out what $700 SLI gets you."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Edition @ Bjorn3d
- MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G Review @ OCC
- Gigabyte GTX 970 WindForce 3X @ HardwareOverclock
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI Overclocked @ [H]ard|OCP
- MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G @ Bjorn3D
- Raijintek Morpheus VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Asylum
- AMD Radeon Gallium3D Is Catching Up & Sometimes Beating Catalyst On Linux @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 14, 2014 - 11:46 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sli, nvidia, N980X3WA-4GD, maxwell, GTX 980, gigabyte, geforce, 3-way
Earlier this week, a new product showed up on Gigabyte's website that has garnered quite a bit of attention. The GA-N980X3WA-4GD WaterForce Tri-SLI is a 3-Way SLI system with integrated water cooling powered by a set of three GeForce GTX 980 GPUs.
That. Looks. Amazing.
What you are looking at is a 3-Way closed loop water cooling system with an external enclosure to hold the radiators while providing a display full of information including temperatures, fans speeds and more. Specifications on the Gigabyte site are limited for now, but we can infer a lot from them:
- WATERFORCE :3-WAY SLI Water Cooling System
- Real-Time Display and Control
- Flex Display Technology
- Powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPU
- Integrated with 4GB GDDR5 memory 256-bit memory interface(Single Card)
- Features Dual-link DVI-I / DVI-D / HDMI / DisplayPort*3(Single Card)
- BASE: 1228 MHz / BOOST: 1329 MHz
- System power supply requirement: 1200W(with six 8-pin external power connectors)
The GPUs on each card are your standard GeForce GTX 980 with 4GB of memory (we reviewed it here) though they are running at overclocked base and boost clock speeds, as you would hope with all that water cooling power behind it. You will need a 1200+ watt power supply for this setup, which makes sense considering the GPU horsepower you'll have access to.
Another interesting feature Gigabyte is listing is called GPU Gauntlet Sorting.
With GPU Gauntlet™ Sorting, the Gigabyte SOC graphics card guarantees the higher overclocking capability in terms of excellent power switching.
Essentially, Gigabyte is going to make sure that the GPUs on the WaterForce Tri-SLI are the best they can get their hands on, with the best chance for overclocking higher than stock.
Setup looks interesting - the radiators and fans will be in the external enclosure with tubing passing into the system through a 5.25-in bay. It will need to have quick connect/disconnect points at either the GPU or radiator to make that installation method possible.
Pricing and availability are still unknown, but don't expect to get it cheap. With the GTX 980 still selling for at least $550, you should expect something in the $2000 range or above with all the custom hardware and fittings involved.
Can I get two please?
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 31, 2014 - 03:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sli, nvidia, GTX 980
Just in case you need a reason to be insanely jealous of someone, [H]ard|OCP has just published an article covering what it is like to be living with two GTX 980's in SLI. The cards are driving three Dell U2410 24" 1920x1200 displays for a relatively odd resolution of 3600x1920 but apart from an issue with the GeForce Experience software suite the cards have no trouble displaying to all three monitors. In their testing of Borderlands games they definitely noticed when PhysX was turned on, though like others [H] wishes that PhysX would abandon its proprietary roots. When compared to the Radeon R9 290X CrossFire system the performance is very similar but when you look at heat, power and noise produced the 980's are the clear winner. Keep in mind a good 290X is just over $300 while the least expensive GTX 980 will run you over $550.
"What do you get when you take two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 video cards, configure those for SLI, and set those at your feet for four weeks? We give our thoughts and opinions about actually using these GPUs in our own system for four weeks with focus on performance, sound profile, and heat generated by these cards."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI 4K @ [H]ard|OCP
- GeForce GTX 980 PCI-Express Scaling @ techPowerUp
- Inno3D GTX 980 'iChill Herculez X4 Air Boss Ultra' @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA's Linux Driver Can Deliver Better OpenGL Performance Than Windows 8.1 @ Phoronix
- 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Driver Comparison @ Phoronix
- Diamond Boost Radeon R9 270X Review @ OCC
- Sapphire R9 285 Dual-X OC Video Card Review @ TechwareLabs
- HIS Radeon R9 290X Hybrid IceQ 4GB - Liquid Cooled @ Legion Hardware
Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2014 - 01:16 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, nvidia, GTX 980, sli, 3-way sli, 4-way sli, amd, R9 290X, Samsung, 840 evo, Intel, corsair, HX1000i, gigabyte, Z97X-UD5H, Lenovo, yoga 3 pro, yoga tablet 2. nexus 9, tegra k1, Denver
PC Perspective Podcast #322 - 10/16/2014
Join us this week as we discuss GTX 980 4-Way SLI, Samsung's EVO Performance Fix, Intel Earnings and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Morry Tietelman
Program length: 1:26:16
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:46:25 You Missed It! PCPer Live! Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Game Stream Powered by NVIDIA
0:48:20 Trio of Lenovo News
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Ryan: Sonos BOOST
SLI Setup and Testing Configuration
The idea of multi-GPU gaming is pretty simple on the surface. By adding another GPU into your gaming PC, the game and the driver are able to divide the workload of the game engine and send half of the work to one GPU and half to another, then combining that work on to your screen in the form of successive frames. This should make the average frame rate much higher, improve smoothness and just basically make the gaming experience better. However, implementation of multi-GPU technologies like NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire are much more difficult than the simply explanation above. We have traveled many steps in this journey and while things have improved in several key areas, there is still plenty of work to be done in others.
As it turns out, support for GPUs beyond two seems to be one of those areas ready for improvement.
When the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 launched last month my initial review of the product included performance results for GTX 980 cards running in a 2-Way SLI configuration, by far the most common derivative. As it happens though, another set of reference GeForce GTX 980 cards found there way to our office and of course we needed to explore the world of 3-Way and 4-Way SLI support and performance on the new Maxwell GPU.
The dirty secret for 3-Way and 4-Way SLI (and CrossFire for that matter) is that it just doesn't work as well or as smoothly as 2-Way configurations. Much more work is put into standard SLI setups as those are by far the most common and it doesn't help that optimizing for 3-4 GPUs is more complex. Some games will scale well, others will scale poorly; hell some even scale the other direction.
Let's see what the current state of high GPU count SLI is with the GeForce GTX 980 and whether or not you should consider purchasing more than one of these new flagship parts.