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.
AMD gets aggressive
At its Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei today, AMD has announced the branding and pricing, along with basic specifications, for one of its upcoming Polaris GPUs shipping later this June. The Radeon RX 480, based on Polaris 10, will cost just $199 and will offer more than 5 TFLOPS of compute capability. This is an incredibly aggressive move obviously aimed at continuing to gain market share at NVIDIA's expense. Details of the product are listed below.
|RX 480||GTX 1070||GTX 980||GTX 970||R9 Fury||R9 Nano||R9 390X||R9 390|
|GPU||Polaris 10||GP104||GM204||GM204||Fiji Pro||Fiji XT||Hawaii XT||Grenada Pro|
|Rated Clock||?||1506 MHz||1126 MHz||1050 MHz||1000 MHz||up to 1000 MHz||1050 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Memory Clock||8000 MHz||8000 MHz||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||500 MHz||500 MHz||6000 MHz||6000 MHz|
|Memory Interface||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||4096-bit (HBM)||4096-bit (HBM)||512-bit||512-bit|
|Memory Bandwidth||256 GB/s||256 GB/s||224 GB/s||196 GB/s||512 GB/s||512 GB/s||384 GB/s||384 GB/s|
|TDP||150 watts||150 watts||165 watts||145 watts||275 watts||175 watts||275 watts||230 watts|
|Peak Compute||> 5.0 TFLOPS||5.7 TFLOPS||4.61 TFLOPS||3.4 TFLOPS||7.20 TFLOPS||8.19 TFLOPS||5.63 TFLOPS||5.12 TFLOPS|
The RX 480 will ship with 36 CUs totaling 2304 stream processors based on the current GCN breakdown of 64 stream processors per CU. AMD didn't list clock speeds and instead is only telling us that the performance offered will exceed 5 TFLOPS of compute; how much is still a mystery and will likely change based on final clocks.
The memory system is powered by a 256-bit GDDR5 memory controller running at 8 Gbps and hitting 256 GB/s of throughput. This is the same resulting memory bandwidth as NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.
AMD also tells us that the TDP of the card is 150 watts, again matching the GTX 1070, though without more accurate performance data it's hard to assume anything about the new architectural efficiency of the Polaris GPUs built on the 14nm Global Foundries process.
Obviously the card will support FreeSync and all of AMD's VR features, in addition to being DP 1.3 and 1.4 ready.
AMD stated that the RX 480 will launch on June 29th.
I know that many of you will want us to start guessing at what performance level the new RX 480 will actually fall, and trust me, I've been trying to figure it out. Based on TFLOPS rating and memory bandwidth alone, it seems possible that the RX 480 could compete with the GTX 1070. But if that were the case, I don't think even AMD is crazy enough to set the price this far below where the GTX 1070 launched, $379.
I would expect the configuration of the GCN architecture to remain mostly unchanged on Polaris, compared to Hawaii, for the same reasons that we saw NVIDIA leave Pascal's basic compute architecture unchanged compared to Maxwell. Moving to the new process node was the primary goal and adding to that with drastic shifts in compute design might overly complicate product development.
In the past, we have observed that AMD's GCN architecture tends to operate slightly less efficiently in terms of rated maximum compute capability versus realized gaming performance, at least compared to Maxwell and now Pascal. With that in mind, the >5 TFLOPS offered by the RX 480 likely lies somewhere between the Radeon R9 390 and R9 390X in realized gaming output. If that is the case, the Radeon RX 480 should have performance somewhere between the GeForce GTX 970 and the GeForce GTX 980.
AMD claims that the RX 480 at $199 is set to offer a "premium VR experience" that has previously be limited to $500 graphics cards (another reference to the original price of the GTX 980 perhaps...). AMD claims this should have a dramatic impact on increasing the TAM (total addressable market) for VR.
In a notable market survey, price was a leading barrier to adoption of VR. The $199 SEP for select Radeon™ RX Series GPUs is an integral part of AMD’s strategy to dramatically accelerate VR adoption and unleash the VR software ecosystem. AMD expects that its aggressive pricing will jumpstart the growth of the addressable market for PC VR and accelerate the rate at which VR headsets drop in price:
- More affordable VR-ready desktops and notebooks
- Making VR accessible to consumers in retail
- Unleashing VR developers on a larger audience
- Reducing the cost of entry to VR
AMD calls this strategy of starting with the mid-range product its "Water Drop" strategy with the goal "at releasing new graphics architectures in high volume segments first to support continued market share growth for Radeon GPUs."
So what do you guys think? Are you impressed with what Polaris looks like its going to be now?
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.
GP104 Strikes Again
It’s only been three weeks since NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards at a live streaming event in Austin, TX. But it feels like those two GPUs, one of which hasn't even been reviewed until today, have already drastically shifted the landscape of graphics, VR and PC gaming.
Half of the “new GPU” stories are told, with AMD due to follow up soon with Polaris, but it was clear to anyone watching the enthusiast segment with a hint of history that a line was drawn in the sand that day. There is THEN, and there is NOW. Today’s detailed review of the GeForce GTX 1070 completes NVIDIA’s first wave of NOW products, following closely behind the GeForce GTX 1080.
Interestingly, and in a move that is very uncharacteristic of NVIDIA, detailed specifications of the GeForce GTX 1070 were released on GeForce.com well before today’s reviews. With information on the CUDA core count, clock speeds, and memory bandwidth it was possible to get a solid sense of where the GTX 1070 performed; and I imagine that many of you already did the napkin math to figure that out. There is no more guessing though - reviews and testing are all done, and I think you'll find that the GTX 1070 is as exciting, if not more so, than the GTX 1080 due to the performance and pricing combination that it provides.
Let’s dive in.
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.