Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 460 Nitro 4GB Benchmarked at HEXUS

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 8, 2016 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, RX460, rx 460, graphics, gpu, gaming, benchmark, 1080p, 1920x1080, gtx 950, gtx 750 ti

HEXUS has posted their review of Sapphire's AMD Radeon RX 460 Nitro 4GB graphics card, pitting it against the NVIDIA GTX 950 and GTX 750 Ti in a 1920x1080 benchmarking battle.


Image credit: HEXUS

"Unlike the two previous AMD GPUs released under the Polaris branding recently, RX 460 is very much a mainstream part that's aimed at buyers who are taking their first real steps into PC gaming. RX 460 uses a distinct, smaller die and is to be priced from £99. As usual, let's fire up the comparison specification table and dissect the latest offering from AMD."


Image credit: HEXUS

The results might surprise you, and vary somewhat based on the game selected. Check out the source link for the full review over at HEXUS.

Source: HEXUS

Sapphire's Custom Cooled Nitro+ RX 470 Available Now

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 6, 2016 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 470, polaris 10, dual x, amd

Following the official launch of AMD's Radeon RX 470 GPU, Sapphire has unleashed its own custom graphics card with the Nitro+ RX 470 in 4GB and 8GB factory overclocked versions. Surprisingly, the new cards are up for purchase now at various retailers at $210 for the 4GB model and $240 for the 8GB model (more on that in a bit).

The new Nitro+ RX 470 uses the same board and cooler design as the previously announced Nitro+ RX 480 which is a good thing both for Sapphire (less R&D cost) and for consumers as they get a rather beefy cooler that should allow them to push the RX 470 clocks quite a bit. The card uses the same Dual X cooler with two 95mm quick connect fans, three nickel plated copper heatpipes, and an aluminum fin stack. The card features the same black fan shroud and black and silver colored backplate. Out of the box this cooler should keep the RX 470 GPU running cooler and quieter than the RX 480, but it should also enable users to get higher clocks out of the smaller GPU (less cores means less heat and more overclocking headroom assuming you get a good chip from the silicon lottery).

Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470.jpg

Sapphire is using Black Diamond 4 chokes and a 4+1 power phase design that is driven by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector (and up to 75W from the motherboard slot). This mirrors the design of its RX 480 sibling.

Display outputs include a single DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and two DisplayPort 1.4 ports.

The chart below outlines the comparison between the Nitro+ RX 470 cards, RX 470 reference specifications, and the RX 480.


Nitro+ RX 470 4GB

Nitro+ RX 470 8GB RX 470 Reference RX 480
Stream Processors 2048 2048 2048 2304
Compute Units 32 32 32 36
TMUs 128 128 128 144
ROPs 32 32 32 32
GPU Clock (Base) 1143 MHz 1121 MHz 926 MHz 1120 MHz
GPU Clock (Boost) 1260 MHz 1260 MHz 1206 MHz 1266 MHz
Memory 4GB GDDR5 @ 7 GHz 8GB GDDR5 @ 8 GHz 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 @ 6.6 GHz 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 @ up to 8 GHz
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 256 GB/s 211 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP <225W <225W 120W 150W
GPU Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 10
Price $210 $240 $180+ $200+ ($240+ for 8GB)

The RX 470 GPU is only slightly cut down from RX 480 in that it features four fewer CUs though the processor maintains the same number of ROP units and the same 256-bit memory bus. Reference clocks are 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost. Memory can be up to 8GB of GDDR5 with reference memory clocks of 6.6 GHz (effective). Sapphire has overclocked both the GPU and memory with the NItro+ series. The Nitro+ RX 470 with 4GB of GDDR5 is clocked at 1143 MHz base, 1260 MHz boost, and 7 GHz memory while the 8GB version has a lower base clock of 1121 but a higher memory clock of 8 GHz.

The 8GB model having a lower base overclock is a bit strange to me, but at least they are rated at the same boost clock. These specifications are very close to the RX 480 actually and with a bit of user overclocking beyond the factory overclock you could get even closer to the performance of it.

The problem with this RX 470 that gets so close to the RX 480 though is that the price is also very close to reference RX 480s! The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 4GB is priced at $209.99 while the Nitro+ RX 470 8GB is $239.99.

These prices put the card well into RX 480 territory though not quite up to the MSRPs of factory overclocked RX 480s (e.g. Sapphire's own Nitro+ RX 480 is $219 and $269 for 4GB and 8GB respectively). The company has a nice looking (and hopefully performing) RX 470, but it is going to be tough to choose this card over a RX 480 that has more shaders and TMUs. One advantage though is that this is a card that will just work without having to manually overclock (though where is the fun in that? heh) and it is actually available right now unlike the slew of RX 480 cards that have been launched but are consistently out of stock everywhere! If you simply can't wait for a RX 480, this might not be a bad option.

EDIT: Of course the 8GB model goes out of stock at Newegg as I write this and Amazon's prices are higher than MSRP! hah.

Source: Sapphire

Microsoft Publishes HLSL Shader Model 6.0 MSDN Docs

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 07:37 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, vulkan, microsoft, DirectX 12

Update (August 3rd @ 4:30pm): Turns out Khronos Group announced at SIGGRAPH that Subgroup Instructions have been recently added to SPIR-V (skip video to 21:30), and are a "top priority" for "Vulkan Next". Some (like WaveBallot) are already ARB (multi-vendor) OpenGL extensions, too.

Original post below:

DirectX 12's shading language will receive some new functionality with the new Shader Model 6.0. According to their GDC talks, it is looking like it will be structured similar to SPIR-V in how it's compiled and ingested. Code will be compiled and optimized as an LLVM-style bytecode, which the driver will accept and execute on the GPU. This could make it easy to write DX12-compatible shader code in other languages, like C++, which is a direction that Vulkan is heading, but Microsoft hasn't seemed to announce that yet.


This news shows a bit more of the nitty gritty details. It looks like they added 16-bit signed (short) and unsigned (ushort) integers, which might provide a performance improvement on certain architectures (although I'm not sure that it's new and/or GPUs exist the natively operate upon them) because they operate on half of the data as a standard, 32-bit integer. They have also added more functionality, to both the pixel and compute shaders, to operate in multiple threads, called lanes, similar to OpenCL. This should allow algorithms to work more efficiently in blocks of pixels, rather than needing to use one of a handful of fixed function calls (ex: partial derivates ddx and ddy) to see outside their thread.

When will this land? No idea, but it is conspicuously close to the Anniversary Update. It has been added to Feature Level 12.0, so its GPU support should be pretty good. Also, Vulkan exists, doing its thing. Not sure how these functions overlap with SPIR-V's feature set, but, since SPIR was original for OpenCL, it could be just sitting there for all I know.

Sapphire Will Release Custom Radeon RX 460 Nitro OC Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 03:50 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 460, polaris 11, nitro, amd

AMD and its board partners will officially launch the first Polaris 11 GPU and the Radeon RX 460 graphics cards based around that processor on August 8th. Fortunately got a hold of an image that shows off Sapphire's take on the RX 460 in the form of a factory overclocked and custom cooled RX460 Nitro OC. This gives us a hint at the kinds of cards we can expect and it appears to be good news for budget gamers as it suggests that there will be several options around this firm $100 price point that are a bit more than the bare necessities.

In the case of Sapphire's RX 460 Nitro OC, it uses a custom dual fan cooler with two copper heatpipes, an aluminum fin stack (that is much larger than reference), and two 90mm fans. Display IO includes one DVI, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort. The card itself uses a physical PCI-E x16 connector that is electrically PCI-E 3.0 x8. The x8 connection will be more than enough for this GPU though it also enables partners to cut costs.

Sapphire Nitro RX 460 OC.jpg

Clockspeeds are not yet known, but the Polaris 11 GPU (896 cores, 56 TMUs, 16 ROPs) will be paired with 4GB GDDR5 memory.

It is encouraging to me to see custom cards at this price point out of the gate with the full 4GB of memory (AMD allows 2GB or 4GB versions). Gamers that simply can't justify spending much more than a hundred dollars on a GPU should have ample options to choose from and I am looking forward to seeing what all the partners have to offer. 

Are you looking at Polaris 11 and the RX 460 for a super budget gaming build? What do you think about Sapphire's card with the company's custom cooler? 

Source: Videocardz

Rumor: GTX 980 and GTX 960 Lawsuits???

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lawsuit, GTX 980, gtx 960

Update @ 9:45pm: I heard that some AMD users were notified about their R9 purchase as well, calling it simply "R9". Since I didn't see concrete proof, I omit it from the post in case it was a hoax (as the story is still developing). I have since been notified of a tweet with an email screenshot.

Original post below:

Apparently, Newegg is informing customers that NVIDIA has settled a class action lawsuit with customers of the GeForce GTX 960 and GTX 980 cards, along with the GTX 970. It's currently unclear whether this is an error, or whether this is one of the sibling class action lawsuits that were apparently bundled together with the GTX 970 one. Users on the NVIDIA Reddit are claiming that it has to do with DirectX 12 feature level support, although that seems like knee-jerk confirmation bias to me.


Regardless, if you purchased a GeForce 900-series graphics card from Newegg, maybe even including the 980 Ti, then you should check your email. You might have a settlement en-route.

That's all we know at this point, though. Thanks to our readers for pointing this out.

Source: PCInvasion

Report: NVIDIA to Announce Mobile Pascal Graphics at Gamescom

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, notebooks, mobile gpu, mobile gaming, laptops, GTX 1080M, GTX 1070M, GTX 1060M, discrete gpu

VideoCardz is reporting that an official announcement of the rumored mobile GPUs might be coming at Gamescom later this month.


"Mobile Pascal may arrive at Gamescom in Europe. According to DigiTimes, NVIDIA would allow its notebook partners to unveil mobile Pascal between August 17th to 21st, so just when Gamescom is hosted is hosted in Germany."

We had previously reported on the rumors of a mobile GTX 1070 and 1060, and we can only assume a 1080 will also be available (though VideoCardz is not speculating on the specs of this high-end mobile card just yet).


Rumored NVIDIA Mobile Pascal GPU specs (Image credit: VideoCardz)

Gamescom runs from August 17 - 21 in Germany, so we only have to wait about three weeks to know for sure.

Source: VideoCardz

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 10:16 AM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, radeon software, Crimson Edition 16.7.3, driver, graphics, update, rx480, rise of the tomb raider

AMD has released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 driver, with improved performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider for Radeon RX 480 owners, as well as various bug fixes.


From AMD:

Radeon Software Crimson Edition is AMD's revolutionary new graphics software that delivers redesigned functionality, supercharged graphics performance, remarkable new features, and innovation that redefines the overall user experience. Every Radeon Software release strives to deliver new features, better performance and stability improvements.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Highlights

Performance Improvements:

Rise of the Tomb Raider performance increase up to 10% versus Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.2 on Radeon RX 480 graphics

For a full list of bug fixes and known issues, you can visit AMD's release notes page for 16.7.3. The new driver is available now from this link.

Source: AMD

Custom Cooled XFX Radeon RX 470 Graphics Card Revealed

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 30, 2016 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: xfx, rx 470, polaris 10, Double Dissipation Edition, amd

AMD's budget (under $200) Polaris-based graphics cards are coming next week, and the leaks are starting to appear online. In the case of the Radeon RX 470, AMD is expecting that most (if not all) of its board partners will be using their own custom coolers. Thanks to Chinese technology site EXPReview, we finally have an idea of what an RX 470 will look like – or at least what an XFX-branded RX 470 will look like!

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation.jpg

The website posted several photos of the alleged (but likely legitimate) XFX RX 470 "Black Wolf" graphics card which will probably be branded as the XFX RX 470 Double Dissipation in North America. This is a dual slot card with dual fan cooler that measures 9.45 inches long. Three copper heat pipes pull heat into an aluminum heatsink that is cooled by two 80mm fans that can reportedly be removed by the user for cleaning (and maybe user RMA replacement like Sapphire is planning). The card also features a full backplate and LED-backlit XFX logo along the side of the card. The design is all black with a white XFX logo.

Video outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and one DL-DVI which seems about right for this price point.

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation Backplate.jpg

The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector and the card will use AMD's RX 470 GPU and 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The RX 470 features 2048 cores, 128 texture units, and 32 raster operators, This is essentially a RX 480 GPU with four less Compute Units though it maintains the same number of ROPs and the same 256-bit memory bus. We do not know clockspeeds on this custom cooled XFX card yet, but overclockers may well be able to push clocks further than they could on RX 480 (there are less cores so the chips may be able to be pushed further on clocks), but it is hard to say right now. I would expect out of the box clocks to be a bit above the reference RX 470 clocks of 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost.

You can check out all of the photos of this card here.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more RX 470 and RX 460 news as we near the official launch dates!

Also read: 

Source: EXPReview

Phanteks Launches Full Cover Water Block For Reference GTX 1080 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 29, 2016 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, RGB LED, phanteks, GPU Water Block

Phanteks, a company that produces cases, CPU coolers, and fans has unveiled its first GPU cooler in the form of a full cover water block for Nvidia's GTX 1080 Founder's Edition (and any partner PCBs that use the reference design) graphics card. The PH-GB1080-X is a full cover nickel plated copper block with acrylic top and black (aluminum?) accents on the edges of the block. There are two ports for inlet/outlet on both top and bottom (so users could SLI multiple cards and water cool in series or parallel). Phanteks allegedly uses Dupont Viton for the gaskets which is a "high-performance seal elastomer" for the aerospace industry (and overkill for the temps that will be seen in a PC water loop heh).

Phanteks PH-GB1080-X Water Cooling Block.jpg

In addition to the acrylic top, users can plug in three (1mm) RGB LEDs into the bottom edge of the card to add a glow effect. Oddly, Phanteks shows the LEDs using three individual cables that then go off to a reported proprietary power adapter that can plug into RGB motherboards or Phanteks' cases. Having the LEDs running off of a single cable (or bundled together) coming of the back edge of the card closest to the motherboard would have been helpful to cable management!

Phanteks' new water block is available for pre-order now for $129.99.

Using a water block on the GTX 1080 should allow users to easily achieve above 2000 MHz GPU clocks and have the card clockspeeds be much more stable than on air. Gamer's Nexus tested their GTX 1080 with an EVGA all in one cooler and managed to crank the GPU clockspeeds up to 2164 MHz and the memory clockspeeds up to 5602 MHz. That 2164 MHz clockspeed is quite the overclock and while it was only a bit above what they achieved on air, the clocks were much more stable and actually able to be maintained during long gaming sessions unlike on air. A custom water loop and a water block like the one Phanteks is selling should do just as well as Gamer's Nexus' results if not ever so slightly better.

If you already have a water loop in your system and have been waiting for a block to go with your GTX 1080 you now have another option!

Also read: The GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition Review - GP104 Brings Pascal to Gamers

Source: Phanteks

AMD Details the RX 470 and RX 460 Graphics Cards, Coming in August

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 29, 2016 - 01:09 AM |
Tagged: rx 470, rx 460, radeon, polaris 11, polaris 10, Polaris, amd

We know pretty much all there is to know about AMD's new Polaris architecture thanks to our Radeon RX 480 review, but AMD is taking the covers off of the lower priced, lower performance products based on the same architecture tonight. We previously covered AMD's launch event in Australia where the company officially introduced the Polaris 10 RX 470 and Polaris 11 RX 460 and talked about the broader specifications. Now, we have a bit more information to share on specifics and release dates. Specifically, AMD's RX 470 will launch on Thursday, August 4th and the RX 460 will launch on the following Monday, August 8th.


First up is the Radeon RX 470, based on the same Polaris 10 GPU as the RX 480, but with some CUs disabled to lower performance and increase yields. 


This card is aimed at 1080p gaming at top quality settings with AA enabled at 60 FPS. Obviously that is a very vague statement, but it gives you an idea of what price point and target segment the RX 470 is going after.


The only comparison we have from AMD pits the upcoming RX 470 against the R9 270, where Polaris offers a range from 1.5x to 2.4x improvement in a handful of titles, which include DX12 and Vulkan enabled games, of course.


From a specifications stand point, the RX 470 will include 2048 stream processors running at a base clock of 926 MHz and a rated boost frequency of 1206 MHz. That gives us 4.9 TFLOPS of theoretical peak performance to pair with a 6.6 Gbps memory interface capable of 211 GB/s of peak bandwidth. With a 4GB frame buffer and a 120 watt TDP, the RX 470 should offer some compelling performance in the ~$150 price segment (this price is just a guess on my part... though yields should be better – they can salvage RX 480s – and partners being able to use memory chips that do not have to hit 8 Gbps should help to lower costs).


Going down another step to the Radeon RX 460, AMD is targeting this card at 1080p resolutions at "high" image quality settings. The obvious game categories here are eSports titles like MOBAs, CS: Go, Overwatch, etc.


Again, AMD provides a comparison to other AMD hardware: in this case the R7 260X. You'll find a 1.2x to 1.3x performance improvements in these types of titles. Clearly we want to know where the performance rests against the GeForce line but this comparison seems somewhat modest. 


Based on the smaller Polaris 11 GPU, which is a new chip that we have not seen before, the RX 460 features up to 2.2 TFLOPS of computing capability with 896 stream processors (14 CUs enabled out of 16 total in full Polaris 11) running between 1090 MHz and 1200 MHz. The memory system is actually running faster on the RX 460 than the RX 470, though with half the memory bus width at 128-bits. The TDP of this card is sub-75 watts and thus we should find cards that don't require any kind of external power. The RX 460 GPU will be used in desktop cards as well as notebooks (though with lower TDPs and clocks).

The chart below outlines the comparison between the three known Polaris graphics processors.

  RX 480 RX 470 RX 460
Stream Processors 2304 2048 896
Compute Units 36 32 14
TMUs 144 128 56
ROPs 32 32 16
GPU Clock (Base) 1120 MHz 926 MHz 1090 MHz
GPU Clock (Boost) 1266 MHz 1206 MHz 1200 MHz
Memory 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 2 or 4 GB GDDR5
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s 211 GB/s 112 GB/s
TDP 150W 120W <75W
GPU Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 11

There is still much to learn about these new products, most importantly, prices. AMD is still shying away from telling us that important data point. The RX 470 will be on sale and will have reviews on August 4th, with the RX 460 following that on August 8th, so we'll have details and costs in our hands very soon.

It is not clear how many or what kinds of cards we can expect to see on the August 4th and August 8th release days though it would stand to reason that they will be mostly based upon reference designs especially for the RX 460 (though Gamer's Nexus did spot a dual fan Sapphire card).. With that said, we may see custom cooled RX 470 graphics cards because while AMD does technically have a reference design with blower style cooler the company expects most if not all of its partners to go their own direction with this board including their own single and dual fan coolers.

For gamers looking to buy into the truly budget card segment, stay tuned just a little longer!

NVIDIA Offers Preliminary Settlement To Geforce GTX 970 Buyers In False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 28, 2016 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, maxwell, GTX 970, GM204, 3.5gb memory

A recent post on Top Class Actions suggests that buyers of NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics cards may soon see a payout from a settlement agreement as part of the series of class action lawsuits facing NVIDIA over claims of false advertising. NVIDIA has reportedly offered up a preliminary settlement of $30 to "all consumers who purchased the GTX 970 graphics card" with no cap on the total payout amount along with a whopping $1.3 million in attorney's fees.

This settlement offer is in response to several class action lawsuits that consumers filed against the graphics giant following the controversy over mis-advertised specifications (particularly the number of ROP units and amount of L2 cache) and the method in which NVIDIA's GM204 GPU addressed the four total gigabytes of graphics memory.

Specifically, the graphics card specifications initially indicated that it had 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache, but later was revealed to have only 56 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2. On the memory front, the "3.5 GB memory controvesy"  spawned many memes and investigations into how the 3.5 GB and 0.5 GB pools of memory worked and how performance both real world and theoretical were affected by the memory setup.

EVGA GTX 970 Closeup.JPG

(My opinions follow)

It was quite the PR disaster and had NVIDIA been upfront with all the correct details on specifications and the new memory implementation the controversy could have been avoided. As is though buyers were not able to make informed decisions about the card and at the end of the day that is what is important and why the lawsuits have merit.

As such, I do expect both sides to reach a settlement rather than see this come to a full trial, but it may not be exactly the $30 per buyer payout as that amount still needs to be approved by the courts to ensure that it is "fair and reasonable."

For more background on the GTX 970 memory issue (it has been awhile since this all came about after all, so you may need a refresher):

PCPer Live! Sapphire Joins PCPer to Talk and Giveaway a Nitro+ RX 480!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | July 28, 2016 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: video, sapphire, rx 480, radeon, Polaris, pcper live, live, amd

UPDATE: Did you miss the live event? No worries, see what trouble Ed and I got into with the recording embedded below!!

When it comes to GPU releases, we at PC Perspective take things up a level in the kind of content we produce as well as the amount of information we provide to the community. Part of that commitment is our drive to bring in the very best people from around the industry to talk directly to the consumers, providing interesting and honest views on where their technology is going. 

Though the Radeon RX 480 was released last month, based on AMD's latest Polaris, we are bringing in our first board partner. Ed Crisler, NA PR/Marketing Manager for Sapphire will be joining us in studio to talk about the RX 480 and Sapphire's plans for custom cards.

Sapphire NitroPlus RX 480.png

The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 Graphics Card

Sapphire Live Stream and Giveaway with Ed Crisler and Ryan Shrout

10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET - July 29th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live stream notification list!


The event will take place Friday, July 29th at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT at There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Ed to answer live. 

As a price for hosting Sapphire in the offices, we demand a sacrifice: in the form of hardware to giveaway to our viewers! We'll have a brand new Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 8GB to hand out during the live stream! All you have to do to win on the 29th is watch the live stream!

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Ed or me?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Friday at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live notification list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

PCPer Live! Sapphire Joins PCPer to Talk and Giveaway a Nitro+ RX 480!

Rumor: Nintendo NX Uses NVIDIA Tegra... Something

Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile | July 27, 2016 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Nintendo, nintendo nx, tegra, Tegra X1, tegra x2, pascal, maxwell

Okay so there's a few rumors going around, mostly from Eurogamer / DigitalFoundry, that claim the Nintendo NX is going to be powered by an NVIDIA Tegra system on a chip (SoC). DigitalFoundry, specifically, cites multiple sources who claim that their Nintendo NX development kits integrate the Tegra X1 design, as seen in the Google Pixel C. That said, the Nintendo NX release date, March 2017, does provide enough time for them to switch to NVIDIA's upcoming Pascal Tegra design, rumored to be called the Tegra X2, which uses NVIDIA's custom-designed Denver CPU cores.

Preamble aside, here's what I think about the whole situation.

First, the Tegra X1 would be quite a small jump in performance over the WiiU. The WiiU's GPU, “Latte”, has 320 shaders clocked at 550 MHz, and it was based on AMD's TeraScale 1 architecture. Because these stream processors have single-cycle multiply-add for floating point values, you can get its FLOP rating by multiplying 320 shaders, 550,000,000 cycles per second, and 2 operations per clock (one multiply and one add). This yields 352 GFLOPs. The Tegra X1 is rated at 512 GFLOPs, which is just 45% more than the previous generation.

This is a very tiny jump, unless they indeed use Pascal-based graphics. If this is the case, you will likely see a launch selection of games ported from WiiU and a few games that use whatever new feature Nintendo has. One rumor is that the console will be kind-of like the WiiU controller, with detachable controllers. If this is true, it's a bit unclear how this will affect games in a revolutionary way, but we might be missing a key bit of info that ties it all together.


As for the choice of ARM over x86... well. First, this obviously allows Nintendo to choose from a wider selection of manufacturers than AMD, Intel, and VIA, and certainly more than IBM with their previous, Power-based chips. That said, it also jives with Nintendo's interest in the mobile market. They joined The Khronos Group and I'm pretty sure they've said they are interested in Vulkan, which is becoming the high-end graphics API for Android, supported by Google and others. That said, I'm not sure how many engineers exist that specialize in ARM optimization, as most mobile platforms try to abstract this as much as possible, but this could be Nintendo's attempt to settle on a standardized instruction set, and they opted for mobile over PC (versus Sony and especially Microsoft, who want consoles to follow high-end gaming on the desktop).

Why? Well that would just be speculating on speculation about speculation. I'll stop here.

MSI's Custom RX 480 Gaming Graphics Cards Coming Mid August

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 27, 2016 - 03:43 AM |
Tagged: Twin Frozr VI, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, msi

MSi is jumping full force into custom RX 480s with its upcoming line of Radeon RX 480 Gaming series including factory overclocked Gaming X and (slightly lower end) Gaming cards in both 8GB and 4GB SKUs. All four of the new graphics cards use a custom 8 phase power design, custom PCB with Military Class 4 components, and perhaps most importantly a beefy Twin Frozr VI cooler. The overclockable cards will be available by the middle of next month.

Specifically, MSI will be launching the RX 480 GAMING X 8G and RX 480 GAMING X 4G with 8GB and 4GB of GDDR5 memory respectively. These cards will have solid metal backplates and the highest factory overclocks. Below these cards sit the RX 480 GAMING 8G and RX480 GAMING 4G with the same TWIN FROZR VI cooler but sans backplate and with lower out of the box clockspeeds. Aside from those aspects, the cards all appear to offer identical features.

MSI Radeon RX 480 Gaming X 8GB.png

The new Gaming series graphics cards feature 8-pin PCI-E power connectors and 8-phase power design on a custom PCB that should allow users to push Polaris 10 quite a bit without running into issues of overheating the VRMs. The Twin Frozr VI cooler uses a nickel plated copper base plate, three 8mm copper heatpipes, a large aluminum fin array, and two large fans that spin down while the GPU temperature is under 60°C. The heatsink results in a larger than reference card that is both wider and longer at 276mm, but the size is made up for by offering 22% better cooling performance according to MSI. Further, RGB LEDs backlight the MSI logo on the side of the card. The metal backplate on the X variants should help dissipate slightly more heat than the non X models.

All for Polaris-based graphics cards offer a single DL-DVI, two HDMI, and two DisplayPort video outputs. The inclusion of two HDMI ports rather than three DP ports is allegedly to more easily support VR users by allowing them to have an HDMI connected monitor and headset connected at the same time without using adapters.

  RX 480 Gaming X 8G RX 480 Gaming X 4G RX 480 Gaming 8G RX 480 Gaming 4G RX 480 Reference
GPU Clock (OC Mode) 1316 MHz 1316 MHz 1292 MHz 1292 MHz 1266 MHz
GPU Clock (Gaming Mode) 1303 MHz 1303 MHz 1279 MHz 1279 MHz 1266 MHz
GPU Clock (Silent Mode) 1266 MHz 1266 MHz 1266 MHz 1266 MHz 1266 MHz
Memory Clock 8100 MHz 8100 MHz 8000 MHz (?) 8000 MHz (?) 8000 MHz
Backplate Yes Yes No No No
Card Length 276mm 276mm 276mm 276mm 241mm
MSRP ? ? ? ? $249 for 8GB, $199 for 4GB

The GAMING and GAMING X RX 480s offer two tiers of factory overclocks that users can select using MSI's software utility. The non X GAMING cards will clock up to 1279 MHz in Gaming Mode and 1292 MHz in OC Mode. In Silent Mode the card will run at the same 1266 MHz boost speed as AMD's reference design card. Meanwhile the RX 480 GAMING X cards will boost up to 1303 MHz in Gaming Mode and 1316 MHz in OC Mode. In addition, MSI is bumping up the memory clockspeeds to 8100 MHz in OC Mode which is a nice surprise! MSI's announcement is not exactly clear, but it appears that the non X versions do not have factory overlcocked memory and it remains at the reference 8000 MHz.

Pricing has not yet been announced, but the cards will reportedly be on sale worldwide by mid August.

I am looking forward to seeing how far reviewers and users are able to push Polaris 10 with the Twin Frozr cooler and 8-phase VRMs!

Source: Guru3D

AMD Introduces Radeon Pro SSG: A Professional GPU Paired With Low Latency Flash Storage (Updated)

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 27, 2016 - 01:56 AM |
Tagged: solid state, radeon pro, Polaris, gpgpu, amd

UPDATE (July 27th, 1am ET):  More information on the Radeon Pro SSG has surfaced since the original article. According to AnandTech, the prototype graphics card actually uses an AMD Fiji GPU. The Fiji GPU is paired onboard PCI-E based storage using the same PEX8747 bridge chip used in the Radeon Pro Duo. Storage is handled by two PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slots that can accommodate up to 1TB of NAND flash storage. As I mentioned below, having the storage on board the graphics card vastly reduces latency by reducing the number of hops and not having to send requests out to the rest of the system. AMD had more numbers to share following their demo, however.

From the 8K video editing demo, the dual Samsung 950 Pro PCI-E SSDs (in RAID 0) on board the Radeon Pro SSG hit 4GB/s while scrubbing through the video. That same video source stored on a Samsung 950 Pro attached to the motherboard had throughput of only 900MB/s. In theory, reaching out to system RAM still has raw throughput advantages (with DDR4 @ 3200 MHz  on a Haswell-E platform theroretically capable of 62 GB/s reads and 47 GB/s writes though that would be bottlenecked by the graphics card having to go over the PCI-E 3.0 x16 link and it's maximum of 15.754 GB/s.). Of course if you can hold it in (much smaller) GDDR5 (300+GB/s depending on clocks and memory bus width) or HBM (1TB/s) and not have to go out to any other storage tier that's ideal but not always feasible especially in the HPC world.

However, having onboard storage on the same board as the GPU only a single "hop" away vastly reduces latency and offers much more total storage space than most systems have in DDR3 or DDR4. In essence, the solid state storage on the graphics card (which developers will need to specifically code for) acts as a massive cache for streaming in assets for data sets and workloads that are highly impacted by latency. This storage is not the fastest, but is the next best thing for holding active data outside of GDDR5/x or HBM. For throughput intensive workloads reaching out to system RAM will be better Finally, reaching out to system attached storage should be the last resort as it will be the slowest and most latent. Several commentors mentioned using a PCI-E based SSD in a second slot on the motherboard accessed much like GPUs in CrossFire communicate now (DMA over the PCI-E bus) which is an interesting idea that I had not considered.

Per my understanding of the situation, I think that the on board SSG storage would still be slightly more beneficial than this setup but it would get you close (I am assuming the GPU would be able to directly interact and request data from the SSD controller and not have to rely on the system CPU to do this work but I may well be mistaken. I will have to look into this further and ask the experts heh). On the prototype Radeon Pro SSG the M.2 slots are actually able to be seen as drives by the system and OS so it is essentially acting as if there was a PCI-E adapter card in a slot on the motherboard holding those drives but that may not be the case should this product actually hit the market. I do question their choice to go with Fiji rather than Polaris, but it sounds like they built the prototype off of the Radeon Pro Duo platform so I suppose it would make sense there.

Hopefully the final versions in 2017 or beyond use at least Vega though :).

 Alongside the launch of new Radeon Pro WX (workstation) series graphics cards, AMD teased an interesting new Radeon Pro product: the Radeon Pro SSG. This new professional graphics card pairs a Polaris GPU with up ot a terabyte of on board solid state storage and seeks to solve one of the biggest hurdles in GP GPU performance when dealing with extremely large datasets which is latency.

AMD Radeon Pro SSG.jpg

One of the core focuses of AMD's HSA (heterogeneous system architecture) is unified memory and the ability of various processors (CPU, GPU, specialized co-processors, et al) to work together efficiently by being able to access and manipulate data from the same memory pool without having to copy data bck and forth between CPU-accessible memory and GPU-accessible memory. With the Radeon Pro SSG, this idea is not fully realized (it is more of a sidestep), but it will move performance further. It does not eliminate the need to copy data to the GPU before it can work on it, but once copied the GPU will be able to work on data stored in what AMD describes as a one terabyte frame buffer. This memory will be solid state and very fast, but more importantly it will be able to get at the data with much lower latency than previous methods. AMD claims the solid state storage (likely NAND but they have not said) will link with the GPU over a dedicated PCI-E bus. I suppose that if you can't bring the GPU to the data, you bring the data to the GPU!

Considering AMD's previous memory champ – the Radeon W9100 – maxed out at 32GB of GDDR5, the teased Radeon Pro SSG with its 1TB of purportedly low latency onboard flash storage opens up a slew of new possibilities for researchers and professionals in media, medical, and scientific roles working with massive datasets for imaging, creation, and simulations! I expect that there are many professionals out there eager to get their hands on one of these cards! They will be able to as well thanks to a beta program launching shortly, so long as they have $10,000 for the hardware!

AMD gave a couple of examples in their PR on the potential benefits of its "solid state graphics" including the ability to image a patient's beating heart in real time to allow medical professionals to examine and spot issues as early as possible and using the Radeon Pro SSG to edit and scrub through 8K video in real time at 90 FPS versus 17 with current offerings. On the scientific side of things being able to load up entire models into the new graphics memory (not as low latency as GDDR5 or HBM certainly) will be a boon as will being able to get data sets as close to the GPU as possible into servers using GPU accelerated databases powering websites accessed by millions of users.

It is not exactly the HSA future I have been waiting for ever so impatiently, but it is a nice advancement and an intriguing idea that I am very curious to see how well it pans out and if developers and researchers will truly take advantage of and use to further their projects. I suspect something like this could be great for deep learning tasks as well (such as powering the "clouds" behind self driving cars perhaps).

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information as it develops.

This is definitely a product that I will be watching and I hope that it does well. I am curious what Nvidia's and Intel's plans are here as well! What are your thoughts on AMD's "Solid State Graphics" card? All hype or something promising?

Source: AMD

Gigabyte Rolls Out New GTX 1060 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 26, 2016 - 12:36 AM |
Tagged: windforce, pascal, gigabyte, GeForce GTX 1060

In a recent press release, Gigabyte announced that it will soon be adding four new GTX 1060 graphics cards to its lineup. The new cards feature Windforce series coolers and custom PCBs. At the high end is the GTX 1060 G1 Gaming followed by the GTX 1060 Windforce OC, small form factor friendly GTX 1060 Mini ITX OC, and the budget minded GTX 1060 D5. While the company has yet to divulge pricing or availability, the cards should be out within the next month or two.

All of the upcoming cards use a custom design that uses a custom PCB and power phase setup paired with Gigabyte's dual – or in the case of the Mini ITX card – single fan Windforce air cooler. Unfortunately, exact specifications for all of the cards except the high end model are unknown including core and memory clocks. The coolers use a dual composite heatpipe that directly touches the GPU to pull heat away and is dissipated by an aluminum fin stack. The fans are 90mm on all of the cards with the dual fan models using a design that has each fan spinning alternate directions of the other. The cards feature 6GB of GDDR5 memory as well as DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort video outputs. For example, the Mini ITX OC graphics card (which is only 17cm long) and features two DVI, one HDMI, and one DP output.

Gigabyte GTX 1060 G1 Gaming.jpg

More information is available on the GTX 1060 G1 Gaming. This card is a dual slot dual fan design with a 6+1 power phase (reference is 3+1) powered by a single 8-pin power connector. The fans are shrouded and there is a metal backplate to aid in stability and cooling. Gigabyte claims that its "GPU Gauntlet" technology ensures users get heavily overclockable chips thanks to sorting and using the most promising chips.

The 16nm Pascal GPU is factory overclocked to 1847 MHz boost and 1620 MHz base clockspeeds in OC mode and 1809 MHz boost and 1594 MHz base in gaming mode. Users will be able to use the company's Xtreme Engine software to dial up the overclocks further as well as mess with the RGB LEDs. For comparison, the reference clockspeeds are 1708 MHz boost and 1506 MHz base. Gigabyte has left the 6GB of GDDR5 memory untouched at 8008 MHz.

Gigabyte GTX 1060 Mini ITX OC.jpg

The other cards should have similarly decent factory overclocks, but it is hard to say exactly what they will be out of the box. While I am not a big fan of the aesthetics, the Windforce coolers should let users push Pascal fairly far (for air cooling).

I would guess that the Gigabyte GTX 1060 G1 Gaming will MSRP for just above $300 while the lower end cards will be around $260 (the Mini ITX OC may be at a slight premium above that).

What do you think about Gigabyte's new cards?

Source: Guru3D

 AMD FireRender Technology Now ProRender, Part of GPUOpen

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 09:48 PM |
Tagged: siggraph 2016, Siggraph, capsaicin, amd, 3D rendering

At their Capsaicin Siggraph event tonight AMD has announced that what was previously announced as the FireRender rendering engine is being officially launched as AMD Radeon ProRender, and this is becoming open-source as part of AMD's GPUOpen initiative.


From AMD's press release:

AMD today announced its powerful physically-based rendering engine is becoming open source, giving developers access to the source code.

As part of GPUOpen, Radeon ProRender (formerly previewed as AMD FireRender) enables creators to bring ideas to life through high-performance applications and workflows enhanced by photorealistic rendering.

GPUOpen is an AMD initiative designed to assist developers in creating ground-breaking games, professional graphics applications and GPU computing applications with much greater performance and lifelike experiences, at no cost and using open development tools and software.

Unlike other renderers, Radeon ProRender can simultaneously use and balance the compute capabilities of multiple GPUs and CPUs – on the same system, at the same time – and deliver state-of-the-art GPU acceleration to produce rapid, accurate results.

Radeon ProRender plugins are available today for many popular 3D content creation applications, including Autodesk® 3ds Max®, SOLIDWORKS by Dassault Systèmes and Rhino®, with Autodesk® Maya® coming soon. Radeon ProRender works across Windows®, OS X and Linux®, and supports AMD GPUs, CPUs and APUs as well as those of other vendors.

Source: AMD

AMD Announces Radeon Pro WX Series Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: siggraph 2016, Siggraph, Radeon Pro WX Series, Radeon Pro WX 7100, Radeon Pro WX 5100, Radeon Pro WX 4100, radeon, capsaicin, amd

AMD has announced new Polaris-based professional graphics cards at Siggraph 2016 this evening, with the Radeon Pro WX 4100, WX 5100, and WX 7100 GPUs.

Radeon Pro WX 7100.jpg

The AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU (Image credit: AMD)

From AMD's official press release:

AMD today unveils powerful new solutions to address modern content creation and engineering: the new Radeon Pro WX Series of professional graphics cards, which harness the award-winning Polaris architecture and is designed to deliver exceptional capabilities for the immersive computing era.

Radeon Pro solutions and the new Radeon Pro WX Series of professional graphics cards represent a fundamentally different approach for professionals rooted in a commitment to open, non-proprietary software and performant, feature-rich hardware that empowers people to create the “art of the impossible”.

The new Radeon Pro WX series graphics cards deliver on the promise of this new era of creation, are optimized for open source software, and are designed for creative professionals and those pushing the boundaries of science, technology and engineering.

Radeon Pro WX 5100.jpg

The AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 GPU (Image credit: AMD)

Radeon Pro WX Series professional graphics cards are designed to address specific demands of the modern content creation era:

  • Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU is capable of handling demanding design engineering and media and entertainment workflows and is AMD’s most affordable workstation solution for professional VR content creation.
  • Radeon Pro WX 5100 GPU is the ideal solution for product development, powered by the impending game-engine revolution in design visualization.
  • Radeon Pro WX 4100 GPU provides great performance in a half-height design, finally bringing mid-range application performance demanded by CAD professionals to small form factor (SFF) workstations

Radeon Pro WX 4100.jpg

The AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100 GPU (Image credit: AMD)

A breakdown of the known specifications for these new GPUs was provided by AnandTech in their report on the WX Series:


Chart credit: AnandTech

Source: AMD

Sapphire's Custom Polaris 10-Based Nitro+ RX 480 Coming Next Month

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 08:49 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, nitro+, nitro

UPDATE (July 27th, 1am ET): The 8GB overclocked Sapphire Nitro+ will MSRP for $269 while the 4GB version will be $219. For more information on Sapphire's new Polaris 10 graphics card check out our archived livestream with Sapphire's Ed Crisler!

More details on custom graphics cards based around AMD's RX 480 reference GPU are starting to trickle out now that the official shipping dates are approaching (it appears many of the cards will be available next month). Sapphire is the latest AIB to provide all the juicy details on its custom Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 card!

The Nitro+ RX 480 is a dual slot card with a Dual X cooler that features two 95mm quick connect fans, vented aluminum backplate, black shroud, and aluminum heatsink. The graphics card is powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector which should be enough to allow overclocking headroom and alleviate any worries over pulling too much amperage over the PEG slot on the motherboard.

Sapphire NitroPlus RX 480.png

Sapphire is using high end capacitors and black diamond 4 chokes. The twin fan cooler supports "quick connect" which lets users easily pull out the fans for cleaning or replacement (which seems like a neat feature considering how dusty my PC can get (it doesn't help that my corgi loves to lay against my tower heh)). RGB LEDs illuminate the Sapphire logo and fans.

Of course, all of the LEDs can be controlled by software or a button on the back of the card to change colors in response to temperatures, fan speed, cycling through all colors, and turned off completely. 

Sapphire NitroPlus RX 480 Backplate.png

The company also uses an aluminum backplate which has a nice design to it (nice to see the only part of the card most will see getting some attention for once heh) as well as vents that allow hot air to escape. Air is pulled into the card from the two fans and pushed out the back of the card and up through the backplate. I am interested to see how much this design actually improved cooling.

Rear IO includes a single DL-DVI output along with two DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0b video outputs. This configuration results in a smaller air intake but also lets you hook up both a HDMI monitor and VR headset. While there are five connectors, only four may be used at the same time.

While Sapphire did not touch the memory, it did factory overclock the Polaris 10 GPU to up to 1,342 MHz boost. Compared to the reference boost clockspeed of 1,266 this is a decent jump, especially for a factory out of the box overclock. Users should be able to push the GPU further though exactly how far remains to be seen and will depend on the cooler and the quality of their specific chip.

Sapphire's Nitro+ RX 480 will reportedly be available as soon as next week in both 4GB and 8GB models. The 4GB will run $220 while the 8GB card will cost $269. If these numbers hold true, that is only a $20 premium over the reference designs which certainly seems like a great value all things considered! I am looking forward to the reviews on this slick looking card and I hope that the performance and build quality are up to snuff! 

Also read: The AMD Radeon RX 480 Review - The Polaris Promise

Source: Sapphire

Checking out the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming Z

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: msi, gtx 1070, Gaming Z, Twin Frozr VI, factory overclocked

The Tech Report had a chance to see what the MSI Twin Frozr VI cooler can do to a GTX 1070, they have just wrapped up a review of the Gaming Z edition of that NVIDIA card.  It comes with a respectable frequency bump when you enable OC mode, 1657 MHz base and 1860 MHz boost.  When they tested it under load the GPU stayed below 70C so there should be room to push the card further.  Check out the full benchmark suite in their full review.


"Nvidia's second Pascal graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1070, aims to set a new bar for graphics performance in the $379-and-up price range. We put MSI's GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming Z card through the wringer to see how a more affordable Pascal card performs."

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

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