AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.3

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 30, 2016 - 12:08 AM |
Tagged: titanfall 2, graphics drivers, amd

If you are experiencing crashes in Titanfall 2, and you are using an AMD graphics card, then you will probably be interested in AMD's Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.3. According to its release notes, that is the only issue this hotfix driver addresses.

amd-2015-crimson-logo.png

Also, being a hotfix driver, you might have issues with clean installs of Windows 10 Anniversary Update, because I'm not sure if it's signed by Microsoft. It might be, but that's obviously a fairly narrow subset of hardware and software that I cannot test on a single machine. If that's the case, though, then you can temporarily disable Secure Boot... or just wait until AMD releases a signed driver.

I should note that, while we're posting this a couple of days late, like our news about NVIDIA's driver, AMD was able to release this the day before Titanfall 2 launched. Our readers, at least I hope, found out about the update before now, rather than suffering through some crashes when a fix was already available. Sorry that I didn't get a post up sooner, though; AMD did their part.

Source: AMD

Some GTX 1070s Could Use a VBIOS Update

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 29, 2016 - 11:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1070, vbios

So apparently I completely missed this news for over a week. It's probably something that our readers would like to know, though, because it affects the stability of GTX 1070 cards. Video RAM chips are purchased from a variety of vendors, and they should ideally be interchangeable. It turns out that, while NVIDIA seems to ship their cards with Samsung memory, some partners have switched to Micron GDDR5 modules.

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According to DigitalTrends, the original VBIOS installed in graphics cards cannot provide enough voltage for Micron quick enough, so it would improperly store data. This reminds me when I had a 7900 GT, which apparently had issues with the voltage regulators feeding the VRAM, leading to interesting failures when the card got hot, like random red, green, and blue dots scattered across the screen, even during POST.

Anywho, AIB vendors have been releasing updated VBIOSes through their websites. DigitalTrends listed EVGA, Gainward, and Palit, but progress has been made since then. I've found updates at ASUS that were released a couple of days ago, which claim to fix Micron memory stability, but it looks like Gigabyte and MSI are still MIA. The best idea is to run GPU-Z and, if Micron produces your GDDR5 memory, check your vendor's website for a new VBIOS.

It's a pain, but this sort of issue goes beyond driver updates.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 375.70 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 29, 2016 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

Yesterday, which was a Friday, NVIDIA released updated graphics drivers for Titanfall 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Skyrim Special Edition, Obduction, and Dishonored 2. While it kind-of missed Skyrim Special Edition by a day-and-a-bit, the GeForce 375.70 drivers seem stable enough in my testing, although a couple of issues that were introduced in 375.57 are still ongoing. I've been using them with a GeForce GTX 1080 (and a secondary GTX 670) for a little over a day, and I haven't yet seen an issue.

nvidia-geforce.png

As for the known bugs, while neither of which affect me, they could be a bother to some. First, Folding@Home is allegedly reporting incorrect results, which NVIDIA is currently investigating. Second, and probably more severe, is that certain animated GIFs have quite severe artifacting. It's almost like, for the first handful of seconds, instead of seeing the frame difference over the first frame, you see it over a black frame. This can be worked around by disabling hardware acceleration (or using a different browser -- Firefox seems okay) until NVIDIA can release another driver. The good news is that it's already been fixed internally, they just couldn't ship it with 375.70.

Feel free to download 375.70 at NVIDIA's website (or GeForce Experience)... or wait for a later release if GIFV support in certain applications (like Google Chrome) or donating resources to Folding@Home are important to you. One of the “Game Ready” titles for this driver (Dishonored 2) won't be released until mid-November, though, so it might be a little while.

Source: NVIDIA

Alphacool Launches Expandable Eiswolf AIO GPU Coolers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 28, 2016 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gpu cooler, Alphacool, AIO

Alphacool recently launched an interesting liquid GPU cooling product under its Eiswolf branding. Coming in an AIO kit or as a standalone GPU cooler, the Eiswolf GPX Pro is currently compatible with the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.

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The Eiswolf GPX is a GPU water block that pairs a removable copper water block with a large aluminum fin stack that passively cools the memory chips and VRM hardware while also feeding some of the heat into the copper block (and then the water loop). Alphacool has custom milled the aluminum to exactly fit the GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 such that users do not need thermal pads for the memory (just a small amount of thermal paste) and only tiny and thin thermal pads for the VRM chips. The GPU block is all copper and houses the pump. A backplate is included and when installed the block hides the card’s PCB behind the aluminum plate with ocool logo. When it comes time to upgrade the graphics card, you can remove the block and only replace the aluminum block that is custom to a specific card, which is nice to see.

The Eiswolf GPX AIO is the kit version and gives users a fully functioning loop. In addition to the Eiswolf GPX GPU cooler, the AIO kit includes a 120mm radiator with two fans in push-pull configuration and tubing with quick disconnects on both tubes. The fan cables are sleeved and the 11/8mm tubing is resistant to kinking. The loop is all copper save for brass fittings. The quick disconnects make it easy to remove the GPU from the system or to expand the loop. Users can add a second GPU (which also gets them a second pump) and/or connect it to the company’s AIO CPU coolers. Of course, it would also be possible to connect it to your custom loop if you wanted.

Alphacool Eiswolf AIO GPU Cooler GTX 1070 Kit.jpg

Reportedly, when running two GPX coolers in a SLI (dual GPU) setup, it is possible to undervolt both pumps to reduce pump noise such that they are near silent.

The ability to expand the AIO loop and to upgrade to newer graphics cards easily makes this an interesting product though I would have liked to see a larger radiator option especially for those wanting to go the dual GPU / dual pump route!

The Alphacool GPX Pro 120 AIO kit is available for 150 Euros (~$164 USD) and the GPX Pro (the cooler Itself) is available for 120 Euros (~$131 USD). Pricing is a bit high, but it has the potentially to have a much longer useable life than other GPU AIOs. I am looking forward to the reviews of this new cooler. I would like to see support for other graphics cards though.

If you are interested in this cooler, Alphacool has a video on YouTube with more information.

Source: Alphacool

Pascal drops some weight; GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti fight in the under $150 category

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 25, 2016 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, msi, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, GP107

The Guru of 3D tested out MSI's GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti, with MSRP's of $109 and $139 respectively.  The non-Ti version has the lowest count of Texture Mapping Units of this generation but a higher GPU frequency that the Ti model, it also has the smallest amount of memory at 2GB though at least it is clocked the same in both models.  DirectX 12 testing offers variable results, in many games the two are bookends to the RX 460 with the GTX 1050 a bit slower and the 1050 Ti a bit faster but this does not hold true in all games.  DirectX 11 results were more favourable for this architecture, the two cards climbed in the rankings with the 1050 Ti offering acceptable performance.  Check out their full review here.

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"Last week Nvidia announced the GeForce GTX 1050 series, with two primary models. In this article we'll review the MSI GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti Gaming X, two graphics cards aimed at the budget minded consumer. We say budget minded as these cards are very affordable and positioned in an attractive 109 and 139 dollar (US) segment."

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Source: Guru of 3D

Updated GeForce Gamers are even more Game Ready for BF1, Civ VI, Titanfall 2 ...

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 24, 2016 - 09:21 AM |
Tagged: 375.63, nvidia, geforce 375.57

After the many issues being reported by NVIDIA users, GeForce 375.63 has been released which should ameliorate the issues encountered with animated GIFs and various games.  It is also WHQL certified, just as the last one was, but hopefully this version will show improvements. Let us know in the comments if you continue to see driver issues.

NVIDIA was beaten to the punch by AMD this particular cycle, today marks the release of the GeForce 375.57 driver with new profiles for BF1, Civ VI and Titanfall 2 as well as VR support updates for the same two pre-release games.  If you haven't signed up for the GeForce Experience you can still grab the drivers here.

titanfall-2-recommended-graphics-cards.png

Game Ready Drivers provide the best possible gaming experience for all major new releases, including Virtual Reality games. Prior to a new title launching, our driver team is working up until the last minute to ensure every performance tweak and bug fix is included for the best gameplay on day-1.

Game Ready
Provides the optimal experience for Battlefield 1, Civilization VI, and Titanfall 2

Game Ready VR
Provides the optimal VR experience for Eagle Flight and Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope

Source: NVIDIA

On Second Thought... Maybe Wait on 375.57 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 22, 2016 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

Before it was released, employees of NVIDIA were claiming that it was difficult to get their drivers through Microsoft's WHQL certification. It is a busy time of year, with the holiday gaming and hardware rush in full swing, so there was likely a backlog until Microsoft could return the signed graphics driver. It also seems like GeForce 375.57 drivers could have used a little more time in NVIDIA's QA department.

nvidia-2015-bandaid.png

At the GeForce Forums, users are complaining about a variety of issues. Ironically, there seems to be a bunch of them claiming that Battlefield 1 is crashing and otherwise being buggy. I haven't installed the game yet, so I cannot contribute my own experiences to it, one way or the other. I have seen some issues myself, though. For instance, I can confirm that tiles in the Windows 10 Start Menu lock up the entire panel if you attempt to move them. NVIDIA acknowledges a handful of issues with Windows 10 on their forums, and they plan a hotfix driver soon (which I'm guessing cannot be applied on PCs running Anniversary Edition clean installs that have secure boot enabled, because of Microsoft's kernel mode driver changes -- thankfully, I'm guessing that applies to very few people).

One issue that seems localized to me, though, is StarCraft II. Since I installed the driver (and granted I installed several things that night, like the CUDA SDK) it fails to launch about three-quarters of the time. Could be unrelated, but it should give you an idea about how broad the issues seem to be. Other users are complaining about GIFV corruption, for instance.

Best to roll back and wait for the next WHQL driver (unless hotfix users give glowing praise).

Source: NVIDIA

Keep your eyes open for Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 20, 2016 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: amd, driver, Crimson Edition 16.10.2

AMD is expecting their new driver to arrive any moment now, in time for several game launches as well as updating some existing early access titles.  You can keep your eye out for the update on their driver page or wait for your installed driver to prompt you to upgrade.  Here is a quick list of the new features and bug fixes to expect.a

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.2 Highlights

Support For:

  • Battlefield 1
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • Titanfall 2
  • Serious Sam VR Early Access
  • Eagle Flight VR

New AMD CrossFire profile added for DirectX® 11:

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

Fixed Issues

  • Fan speed may sometimes remain elevated on select Radeon RX 400 series graphics products even when an application has been exited.
  • Eyefinity group settings may not be retained after driver upgrade when using AMD CrossFire configurations.
  • Gears of War 4 may experience an application hang when using select high resolution and quality configurations in some specific game maps.
  • DirectX®12 content may be unable to launch on some older CPUs that do not support popcnt instruction.
  • Battlefield 1TM AMD CrossFire profile updates for game launch.

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Source: AMD

DigitalFoundry Compares GTX 1060 & RX 480 in Battlefield 1

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 19, 2016 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, gtx 1060, rx 480, dx12, dx11, battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 is just a few days from launching. In fact, owners of the Deluxe Edition have the game unlock yesterday. It's interesting that multiple publishers are using release date as a special edition bonus these days, including Microsoft's recent Windows Store releases. I'm not going to say interesting bad or good, though, because I'll leave that up to the reader to decide.

Anywho, DigitalFoundry is doing their benchmarking thing, and they wanted to see what GPU could provide a solid 60FPS when everything is maxed out (at 1080p). They start off with a DX12-to-DX12 comparison between the GTX 1060 and the RX 480. This is a relatively fair comparison, because the 3GB GTX 1060 and the 4GB RX 480 both come in at about $200, while upgrading to 6GB for the 1060 or 8GB for the 480 bumps each respective SKU up to the ~$250 price point. In this test, NVIDIA has a few dips slightly below 60 FPS in complex scenes, while AMD stays above that beloved threshold.

They also compare the two cards in DX11 and DX12 mode, with both cards using a Skylake-based Core i5 CPU. In this test, AMD's card noticed a nice increase in frame rate when switching to DirectX 12, while NVIDIA had a performance regression in the new API. This raises two questions, one of which is potentially pro-NVIDIA, and the other, pro-AMD. First, would the original test, if NVIDIA's card was allowed to use DirectX 11, show the GTX 1060 more competitive against the DX12-running RX 480? This brings me to the second question: what would the user see? A major draw of Mantle-based graphics APIs is that the application has more control over traditionally driver-level tasks. Would 60 FPS in DX12 be more smooth than 60 FPS in DX11?

I don't know. It's something we'll need to test.

The MSI GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G has extra power

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 14, 2016 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: msi, gtx 1070, GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G, factory overclocked

The most noticeable feature of this GTX 1070 from MSI is that is has an additional 6 pin power connector intended to ensure smooth power delivery.  The most confusing part is the branding, a GAMING X is better than a GAMING Z which is better than a GAMING which is better than a non-GAMING 1070.  The factory overclock on the card pushes the boost clock to 1771MHz and [H]ard|OCP also tested it the best overclock they could manage, a base clock of 1692MHz and a boost clock of 1882MHz.  Check out the effect that had on gameplay in their full review.

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"We have MSI’s new GeForce GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G video card to evaluate today. We will push this GPU as high as we can, and see how the overclock compares to the default factory overclock, and a Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. This video card is a fully custom retail video card with the Twin Frozr VI cooling system. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP