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Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 08:07 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 03:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Asus Republic Of Gamers Strix GTX 1080 Aura RGB OC @ Kitguru
- Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Overclocking & Best Playable Settings At 4K & Ultrawide @ Techgage
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Overclocking Review @ OCC
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 On Linux: OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan Performance @ Phoronix
- Performance & Perf-Per-Watt From NVIDIA's GeForce 9800GTX To GTX 1080 @ Phoronix
- OpenGL Performance & Perf-Per-Watt From The Radeon HD 3850 Through R9 Fury @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 08:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd
Over the last few months, AMD has been fighting their reputation for being slow and unreliable with driver updates. Ryan wrote a piece about it after AMD discussed the issue with him. He noted that, while the increase is noticeable and great, it takes time and consistency to trust that a company will provide their products with a certain level of support.
Since then, AMD has released two drivers in April, three in May, and now, already, one in June. Each of these provide enhancements for individual games, right in line with their release dates, as well as fix several issues along the way. Crimson Edition 16.6.1 aligns with Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, which makes this post surprisingly difficult to type. It also includes enhancements for Paragon and a Crossfire profile for Dark Souls III. If users were experiencing flickering and corruption with videos in a web browser, AMD claims that was also fixed in this version.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 05:14 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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?
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | June 6, 2016 - 07:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: hsa 1.1, hsa
The HSA Foundation released version 1.1 of their specification, which focuses on “multi-vendor” compatibility. In this case, multi-vendor doesn't refer to companies that refused to join the HSA Foundation, namely Intel and NVIDIA, but rather multiple types of vendors. Rather than aligning with AMD's focus on CPU-GPU interactions, HSA 1.1 includes digital signal processors (DSPs), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and other accelerators. I can see this being useful in several places, especially on mobile, where cameras, sound processors, and CPU cores, and a GPU regularly share video buffers.
That said, the specification also mentions “more efficient interoperation with non-HSA compliant devices”. I'm not quite sure what that specifically refers to, but it could be important to keep an eye on for future details -- whether it is relevant for Intel and NVIDIA hardware (and so forth).
Charlie, down at SemiAccurate, notes that HSA 1.1 will run on all HSA 1.0-compliant hardware. This makes sense, but I can't see where this is explicitly mentioned in their press release. I'm guessing that Charlie was given some time on a conference call (or face-to-face) regarding this, but it's also possible that he may be mistaken. It's also possible that it is explicitly mentioned in the HSA Foundation's press blast and I just fail at reading comprehension.
If so, I'm sure that our comments will highlight my error.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 5, 2016 - 02:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gigabyte, external gpu
External GPUs can be a good idea. If it is affordable, easy, and not too big, users can augment their laptop CPU, which is probably good enough to at least run most tasks, with a high-end GPU. While GPUs are more efficient that CPUs, the tasks that they are expected to do are so much larger that a decent graphics chip is difficult to cram into laptop form factor... for the most part.
Image Credit: Tom's Hardware
Preamble aside, it's been tried and dropped numerous times over the last decade, but the last generation seems to be getting a little traction. Razer added the feature to their relatively popular Blade line of laptops, and AMD, who was one of the companies to try it several years ago, is pushing it now with their XConnect technology. Even Microsoft sort-of does this with their Surface Book, and it's been a small source of problems for them.
Now Gigabyte, at Computex, announced that they are investigating prototypes. According to Tom's Hardware, their current attempt stands upright, which is likely to take up less desk space. Looking at it, I could see it hiding in the space between my monitors and the corner of the room (because my desk slides into the corner). Of course, in my case, I have a desktop PC, so I'm not the target demographic, but who knows? It's possible that a laptop user might have a similar setup to me. It's still pretty big, though.
Currently, Gigabyte limits the power supply to 250W, which drops GPU support to under 175W TDP. In other words? Too small for a GeForce GTX 1080. The company did tell Tom's Hardware that they are considering upping that to 350W, which would allow 260W of load, which allows all 1x PCIe 8-pin graphics cards, and thus many (but not all) GTX 1080s.
No pricing or availability yet, of course. It's just a prototype.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 4, 2016 - 04:28 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 4, 2016 - 02:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1080, zotac
(Most of) NVIDIA's AIB partners have been flooding out announcements of custom GTX 1080 designs. Looking over them, it seems like they fall into two camps: one believes 1x eight-pin PCIe power is sufficient for the GP104, and the other thinks that 1x eight-pin + 1x six-pin PCIe could be useful.
ZOTAC, on the other hand, seems to believe that both are underestimating. Excluding the Founders Edition, both of their GTX 1080 designs utilize 2x eight-pin PCIe connectors. This gives their cards a theoretical maximum of 375W, versus 225W of the Founders Edition. At this point, considering the Founders Edition can reach 2.1 GHz with good enough binning, I'm guessing that it's either there simply because they can, or they just didn't want to alter their existing design. Not that, if you only have 6-pin PCIe connectors on your power supply, ZOTAC provides the dual-six-to-eight-pin adapters in the box.
The two SKUs that they are releasing, again, apart from the Founders Edition, vary by their heatsink. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP has a dual-fan IceStorm cooler, while the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP Extreme has a triple-fan IceStorm cooler. (IceStorm is the brand name of ZOTAC's custom cooler.) Other than the 2x 8-pin PCIe connector, there's not much else to mention. ZOTAC has not settled on a default base, boost, or memory clock, and you will probably be overclocking it yourself (either manually or by using an automatic overclocker) anyway. Both cards have a back plate, if that's something you're interested in.
Once again, no pricing or availability. It shouldn't be too long, though.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 4, 2016 - 01:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, msi, hydro gfx, GTX 1080, corsair
Last week, we wrote about the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 SEA HAWK. This design took their AERO cooler and integrated a Corsair self-contained water cooler into it. In response, Corsair, not to be outdone by MSI's Corsair partnership, partnered with MSI to release their own graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 version of the Corsair Hydro GFX.
The MSI SEA HAWK
Basically, like we saw with their previous Hydro GFX card, Corsair and MSI are each selling basically the same graphics card, just with their own branding. It sounds like the two cards, MSI's SEA HAWK and Corsair's Hydro GFX, differ slightly in terms of LED lighting, but it might just be a mismatch between Tom's Hardware's Computex coverage and MSI's product page. Otherwise, I would guess that the choice between these SKUs comes down to the company that you trust most for support, which I believe both Corsair and MSI hold a good reputation for, and the current price at the specific retailer you choose. Maybe some slight variation in clock rate?
The Corsair Hydro GFX at Computex
(Image Credit: Tom's Hardware)
For the record, both cards use a single, eight-pin PCIe power connector, rather than an eight-pin and a six-pin as we've seen a few, high-end boards opt for.
No idea about pricing or availability. Corsair's page still refers to the GTX 980 Ti model.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 4, 2016 - 12:35 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: revving, report, nvidia, GTX 1080, gpu cooler, founders edition, fan speed, fan issue
“NVIDIA has reportedly found the solution and the problem should will be fixed with the next driver release. NVIDIA rep confirmed that software team was able to reproduce this problem, and their fix has already passed internal testing.”
Image credit: PC Games Hardware
On the NVIDIA forums customer care representative Manuel Guzman has posted about the issue, and now it seems a fix will be provided with the next driver release:
“This thread is to keep users up to date on the status of the fan randomly spinning up and down rapidly that some users are reporting with their GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition card. Thank you for your patience.
Updates Sticky Post
Update 6/1/16 - We are testing a driver fix to address the random spin up/down fan issue.
Update 6/2/16 - Driver fix so far has passed internal testing. Fix will be part of our next driver release.”
For those who have experienced the “revving” issue, described as a rapid rise and fall from 2000 RPM to 3000 RPM in the post, this will doubtless come as welcome news. We will have to see how these cards perform once the updated driver has been released and is in user hands.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 4, 2016 - 02:39 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: evga, sli, SLI HB, GTX 1080, nvidia, gtx 1070
Still no idea when these are coming out, or how much they'll cost, but EVGA will introduce their own custom SLI High-Bandwidth (HB) bridges. These are designed for the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 cards in two-way SLI mode to share frames in high-speed 1440p, 4K, 5K, and Surround configurations. As TAP mentioned on our live stream, if the bridge was overloaded, it would fall back to communicating PCIe, which should be doing other things at the time.
NVIDIA's SLI HB connector.
We didn't have a presence at Computex, so you'll need to check out Fudzilla's photo for EVGA's.
As for EVGA's model? Without pricing and availability, all we can say is that they have a different aesthetic from NVIDIA's. They also, unlike NVIDIA's version, have RGB LEDs on them to add a splash (or another splash) of colored light inside your case. Three versions will be offered, varying with the distances between your cards, but, as the SLI HB spec demands, each of them only supports two at a time.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 3, 2016 - 11:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, graphics drivers, AMDGPU, amd
On Windows, we really only have one graphics driver per GPU. On Linux, however, there is a choice between open drivers and closed, binary-only blobs. Open drivers allow users to perpetuate support, for either really old hardware or pre-release software, without needing the GPU vendor to step in. It can also be better for security, because open-source software can be audited, which is better (albeit how much better is up for debate) than just having a few eyes on it... if any at all.
As we reported a few months ago, AMD has been shifting their structure. Rather than two completely different code-bases, AMDGPU is an open-source driver, officially supported by AMD, that communicates with the Linux kernel. This chunk is compliant with the GPL, so it can be bundled with the operating system. Above this, a user space driver adds the various APIs, game-specific optimizations, and so forth. AMD calls this plug-in component AMD GPU-PRO.
This component has now been released for Ubuntu 16.04, which includes OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 1.2, and Vulkan 1.0.
Open-source developers can create their own components, using the same AMDGPU hooks that AMD uses, and release those on their own. This is not a perfect solution, though. If, at any point, AMD disagrees with a necessary, proposed change, then the only way forward could be to fork the project, which AMD wouldn't support with their closed-source blob, leading to the previous situation. That said, AMD is putting a lot of effort into this, so it would stand to reason that they aren't intending to throw all of that away over a pull request.
Either way, you can get AMD GPU-PRO Beta from AMD's page for Ubuntu 16.04. SteamOS added AMD GPU-PRO with their 2.80 update last week.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 2, 2016 - 04:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gtx 1070, msi, GAMING X 8G, AERO 8G OC, AERO 8G, SEA HAWK X, founders edition
MSI's line up of GTX 1070s can be seen below, apart from the Founders Edition which you will already be familiar with.
The GeForce GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G comes with a nice overclock as well as a silent mode for when you do not need all the graphical horsepower this card offers.
There will be two versions of the AERO 8G, one with default clocks and an OC version with a 38MHz overclock to it's boost clock straight out of the box.
Last is the SEA HAWK X with a much more impressive overclock which you can see in the chart below. All models have three DisplayPorts 1.4 which is blessing for those with multiple monitors, in addition is an HDMI 2.0 port and DVI.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 31, 2016 - 08:23 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video card, rumor, report, Radeon RX 480, radeon, Polaris, graphics card, gpu, amd
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AMD's upcoming Polaris graphics cards will be priced no higher than $199, a startling move to say the least.
The report arrives via VideoCardz.com:
"According to WSJ article, Polaris GPUs will cost no more than 199 USD. First systems equipped with Polaris GPUs will be available end of June:
'Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is angling to lower the cost of virtual reality, targeting the field with a new line of graphics hardware priced at $199—half or less the cost of comparable products.
AMD said the first chips based on its new Polaris design are expected to arrive in graphics cards for personal computers at the end of June. The company aims to help push the starting cost of PCs that can deliver VR experiences as low as $799 from above $1,000.'"
The report lists the high-end Polaris card as the "RX 480", which would be a departure from the recent nomenclature (R9 290X, R9 390X). Pricing such a card this aggressively not only creates what one would hope to be an incredible price/performance ratio, but is likely an answer to NVIDIA's GTX 1080/1070 - especially considering NVIDIA's new GTX 1070 is as fast as a GTX 980 Ti.
Is the Radeon RX 480 really the top end card, or a lower-cost variant? Will there be a 490, or 490X? This report certainly doesn't answer any questions, but the possibility of a powerful new GPU for $199 is very appealing.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2016 - 07:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: supernova, SLI HB, gtx 1080 FTW, GTX 1080 classified, gtx 1070 SC, evga, Dawn, computex 2016, 850GS, 1000GX
Earlier in the week you saw a sneak peek at EVGA's GTX 1080 SC and now we can confirm there will indeed be a GTX 1070 version, bearing the same custom ACX 3.0 cooler which Al proved to be an improvement over the Founders Edition, especially when you consider the price to performance equation.
That is not the only new card announced, there is also a brand new GTX 1080 Classified with the ACX 3.0 cooler, the specific overclock is not yet known but you can bet it should be more a handful of megahertz more than the base. We know that this card will have 14 power phases, full RGB LEDs and those ACX fans are 10cm in size.
The more curious of you might have noticed there is something odd about the back end of the card and the location of the PCIe power plugs and you are absolutely right. The EVGA Power Link adapter can be plugged into any card to move the position of the power plugs to give you better cable management abilities. It also sports an LED light on one side, as you can see in the picture of the GTX 1080 Classified card.
To round out the usual suspects, here you can see the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Edition with some fancy LEDs. Those lights match the CPU waterblock in evidence just above the card, we didn't hear anything official about it but perhaps that is yet another thing to look forward to in the coming year.
Speaking of adapters, here you can see EVGA's custom SLI HB bridges in three different sizes, especially of importance to those who plan on using a code to enable more than two Pascal cards to run in SLI. They will connect the cards at up toand will sport LEDs which can be toggled between red, green, blue or white via a switch on the bridge.
Next up is an EVGA Gaming chassis bearing the names DG-87 and Dawn, hinting that there may be more than model arriving in the near future. As you can see in the picture the front panel, up to and including the power and reset buttons, has been moved to the side. USB including a Type-C plug, HMDI and audio are all available at the sides as well as a LCD which can display the speeds of two of your fans, as well as allowing you control over their speeds. You can also set it to display a temperature, although it is unlikely you can reduce it the same way you can your fan speed. The case also obviously handles watercooling setups as stylishly as Jacob sports those jeans.
Along with the case comes two new PSUs, the successors to the G2 models. The EVGA Supernova 1000GX not only provides 1000W of 80 PLUS Gold power, it will also the smallest kilowatt class PSU available at launch. It looks to have single 12V rail which will provide up to 999.6W @ 83.3A.
If that is a little more power than you need the Supernova 850GL might be more to your taste. It is also 80 PLUS Gold and fully modular, with up to 849.6W @ 70.8A, which should handle all but the most extreme GPU setups. That picture also shows off the certain glow your system will feel when powered by one of these PSUs.
With all these lights and features it would be a shame to have boring PSU cables, now wouldn't it? That is why EVGA is also releasing PSU cables in a wide variety of colours. The ones shown below are only a small sampling of what you can choose from, more will be available from EVGA once they launch.
That is all from EVGA so far but stay tuned for more from Computex here at PC Perspective!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2016 - 03:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- GeForce GTX 1070 FCAT Frametime Anaysis @ Guru of 3D
- NVIDIA GTX 1070 Review - The Revolution Continues @HiTech Legion
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 @ Legion Hardware
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition Review @ OCC
- Radeon Linux 4.6 + Mesa 11.3 vs. NVIDIA Linux Performance & Perf-Per-Watt @ Phoronix
- XFX Radeon R9 Fury Triple Dissipation @ [H]ard|OCP
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 vs Titan X vs R9 Fury vs GTX 980 Ti vs GTX 980 vs R9 390X @HiTech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Overclocking Review @ OCC
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2016 - 03:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: G1080, phanteks, computex 2016
Walnut, California, May, 30 th , 2016 - Phanteks a leader in thermal cooling, is excited to launch their very first water block designed for the new Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition. The G1080 is made from premium materials and finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks.
From military standard Viton O-ring to the RGB LED lighting, all of our exceptionally high-quality materials are carefully selected. The water block features a nickel-plated copper cold plate, acrylic top and sandblasted cover plates for an elegant look.
The G1080 uses military class Viton O-ring compared to silicone O-rings used by other manufacturers, well known for its excellent heat resistance and its durability. The G1080 also features RGB LED lighting that can sync with Phanteks cases that supports RGB lighting or motherboards’ RGB software by using our Phanteks RGB adapter.
Available at most local retailers - MSRP: $129.99 / €129,90 / £99.99 (VAT included)
Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 08:04 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: crazy people, concept, computex 2016, computex, avalon, asus
If you expected Computex to be bland and stale this year, ASUS has something that is going to change your mind. During the company's Republic of Gamers press conference, it revealed a concept PC design it has been working on dubbed Avalon. The goal of this project was to improve on the fundamental design of the PC; something that hasn't changed for decades. ASUS wanted to show that you could build a platform that would allow DIY machines to be "more modular, easier to build, and more tightly integrated."
The result is a proof of concept design that looks more like a high end turntable than a PC. In reality, you are looking at a machine that has been totally redesigned, from the power supply to motherboard and case integration to cooling considerations and more. ASUS has posted a great story that goes into a lot of detail on Avalon, and it's clear this is a project the team has been working on for some time.
The brainchild of Jonathan Chu, the Avalon concept takes a notebook-like approach to desktop design. The motherboard is designed in conjunction with the chassis to enable more seamless cooperation between the two.
The first example of changes to Avalon is something as simple as the front panel connectors on a case. Connecting them to your motherboard is the same today, basically, as it has ever been. But if you are the manufacturer or designer of both the chassis and the motherboard itself, it is trivial to have the buttons, lights and even additional capabilities built into a specific location on the PCB that matches with access points on the case.
Re-thinking the rear IO panel was another target: making it modular and connected to the system via PCI Express means you can swap connectivity options based on the user's needs. Multiple Gigabit NICs a requirement? Done. Maximum USB capability? Sure. Even better, by making the back panel IO a connected device, it can host storage and sound controllers on its own, allowing for improved audio solutions and flexible data configurations.
ASUS even worked in a prototype power supply that is based on the SFX form factor but that uses a server-style edge connector, removing wires from the equation. It then becomes the motherboard's responsibility to distribute power through the other components; which again is easy to work through if you are designing these things in tandem. Installing or swapping a power supply becomes as simple as pulling out a drive tray.
This is all made possible by an internal structure that looks like this:
Rethinking how a motherboard is built, how it connects to the outside world and to other components, means that ASUS was able to adjust and change just about everything. The only area that remains the same is for the discrete graphics card. These tend to draw too much power to use any kind of edge connector (though the ASUS story linked above says they are working on a solution) and thus you see short run cables from a break out on the motherboard to the standard ROG graphics card.
The ASUS EdgeUp story has some more images and details and I would encourage you to check it out if you find this topic compelling; I know I do. There are no prices, no release dates, no plans for sampling yet. ASUS has built a prototype that is "right on the edge of what’s possible" and they are looking for feedback from the community to see what direction they should go next.
Will the DIY PC in 2020 be a completely different thing than we build today? It seems ASUS is asking the same question.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 29, 2016 - 05:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: msi, GTX 1080, sea hawk, gaming x, armor, Aero, nvidia
Beyond the Founders Edition, MSI has prepared six SKUs of the GTX 1080. These consists of four variants, two of which have an overclocked counterpart to make up the remaining two products. The product stack seems quite interesting, with a steady progression of user needs, but we'll need to wait for price and availability to know for sure.
We'll start at the bottom with the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 AERO 8G and MSI GeForce GTX 1080 AERO 8G OC. These are your typical blower designs that pull air in from within the case, and exhausts it out the back after collecting a bunch of heat from the GPU. It will work, it should be one of the cheapest options for this card, and it will keep the GTX 1080's heat outside of the case. It has a little silver accent on it, too. The non-overclocked version is the standard 1607 MHz / 1733 MHz that NVIDIA advertises, and the OC SKU is a little higher: 1632 MHz / 1771 MHz.
Next up the product stack are the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G and MSI GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G OC versions. This uses MSI's aftermarket, two-fan cooler that should provide much lower temperatures than AERO, but they exhaust back into the case. Personally? I don't really care about that. The only other thing that heats up in my case, to any concerning level at least, is my CPU, and I recently switched that to a closed-loop water cooler anyway. MSI added an extra, six-pin power connector to these cards (totaling 8-pin + 6-pin + slot power = up-to 300W, versus 8-pin + slot power's 225W). The non-overclocked version is NVIDIA's base 1607 MHz / 1733 MHz, but OC brings that up to 1657 MHz / 1797 MHz.
Speaking of closed-loop water coolers... The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 SEA HAWK takes the AERO design, which we mentioned earlier, and puts a Corsair self-contained water cooler inside it, too. Only one SKU of this is available, clocked at 1708 MHz base and 1847 MHz boost, but it should support overclocking fairly easily. That said, unlike other options that add a bonus six-pin connector, the SEA HAWK has just one, eight-pin connector. Good enough for the Founders Edition, but other SKUs (including three of the other cards in this post) suggest that there's a reason to up the power ceiling.
We now get to MSI's top, air-cooled SKU: the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. This one has their new TWIN FROZR VI, which they claim spins quieter and has fans that drag more air to spin slower than previous models. It, as you would assume from reading about ARMOR 8G, has an extra, six-pin power connector to provide more overclocking headroom. It has three modes: Silent, which clocks the card to the standard 1607 MHz / 1733 MHz levels; Gaming, which significantly raises that to 1683 MHz / 1822 MHz; and OC, which bumps that slightly further to 1708 MHz / 1847 MHz.
Currently, no pricing and availability for any of these.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 28, 2016 - 05:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, ROG, strix, GTX 1080, nvidia
The Founders Edition versions of the GTX 1080 went on sale yesterday, but we're beginning to see the third-party variants being announced. In this case, the ASUS ROG Strix is a three-fan design that uses their DirectCU III heatsink. More interestingly, ASUS decided to increase the amount of wattage that this card can accept by adding an extra, six-pin PCIe power connector (totaling 8-pin + 6-pin). A Founders Edition card only requires a single, eight-pin connection over the 75W provided by the PCIe slot itself. This provides an extra 75W of play room for the ROG Strix card, raising the maximum power from 225W to 300W.
Some of this power will be used for its on-card, RGB LED lighting, but I doubt that it was the reason for the extra 75W of headroom. The lights follow the edges of the card, acting like hats and bow-ties to the three fans. (Yes, you will never unsee that now.) The shroud is also modular, and ASUS provides the data for enthusiasts to 3D print their own modifications (albeit their warranty doesn't cover damage caused by this level of customization).
As for the actual performance, the card naturally comes with an overclock out of the box. The default “Gaming Mode” has a 1759 MHz base clock with an 1898 MHz boost. You can flip this into “OC Mode” for a slight, two-digit increase to 1784 MHz base and 1936 MHz boost. It is significantly higher than the Founders Edition, though, which has a base clock of 1607 MHz that boosts to 1733 MHz. The extra power will likely help manual overclocks, but it will come down to “silicon lottery” whether your specific chip was abnormally less influenced by manufacturing defects. We also don't know yet whether the Pascal architecture, and the 16nm process it relies upon, has any physical limits that will increasingly resist overclocks past a certain frequency.
Pricing and availability is not yet announced.